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onary of education 




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Edited ly Ralph B. Winn 

With a Foreword by John Herman Randall, Jr. 

New York 

Copyright 1959 

Philosophical Library 
15 East 40th Street New York 

All rights reserved 

Printed in the United States of America 


John Dewey was essentially a critic. He was a critic not 
merely, and not primarily, of the inherited problems of pro- 
fessional and technical philosophers. He was a critic in the 
grand style. He directed his analysis to what he called in 
contrast "the problems of men/' And by this he meant the 
entire range of intellectual issues raised by the culture in 
which he found himself living. He saw emerging our twen- 
tieth-century world a scientific, technological, international 
world, in which the immense achievement of the cooperative 
activity of men in groups hangs precariously on the shifting 
tensions and antagonisms generated between those groups. 
On all the ideas and problems involved in these complex 
difficulties, Dewey had something to say, usually novel, and 
always significant. 

Dewey was seeing many things in new relations, and at- 
tempting to express original insights. He would try again 
and again to make his meaning clear, putting his thought 
now in this form and now in that. In his many pages it is 
not easy to find the most revealing formulation. A compila- 
tion like Dr. Winn's, where the most penetrating and sug- 
gestive statements have been carefully singled out and 
classified, can be of immense help, both to the reader man- 
fully making his way through Dewey's arguments, and to 
the man who wants ready access to Dewey's most incisive 
thought on crucial points. 

Dewey is not reputed a great stylist, like William James. 
He did not strike off vivid metaphors that stick in the mem- 

ory, but often leave their application and precise meaning in 
dispute. In his writing, as in his teaching before a class, he 
is primarily a man thinking things out, thinking his way 
through a problem trying desperately to get it clear in his 
own mind, to< follow out its leads and its bearings on other 
problems. He will take an idea, hold it up, look at it from 
different sides, put it together with another idea, view them 
both in a fresh light, follow out the new train of thought 
that suggests. Then he will come back to the first idea for a 
further look and another start. All the while he is talking 
and commenting on what he is doing and finding out. The 
reader, like the class earlier, is privileged to overhear this 
talkthe revealing talk of a shrewd and penetrating mind 
thinking aloud. 

But every so often the reader is brought up with a start. 
Dewey sums up a long argument with pithy, well chosen 
words that make everything fall into place. Sometimes it is 
an apt illustration that clinches his point. Sometimes it is 
the putting of a problem in a new way that sticks in the 
memory. Sometimes it is a statement deliberately provoca- 
tive that sets one to think furiously. Usually in it Dewey 
abandons the technical terms of the professional and speaks 
in the language of everyday. At times he falls back on the 
homespun words of his Vermont forebears or on the vivid 
American speech of his young manhood in the Midwest. 
The effect is electric. Here is intelligence speaking signifi- 
cantly to the problem of men. 

For Dewey is a master of the pithy saying, of compressed 
incisive thought. These apothegms are too full of suggestion 
and wisdom to- be left buried in the discursive pages in 
which they are embedded. Dr. Winn has had the brilliant 
idea to select many of the best and let them stand on their 
own feet. And his success reveals how well Dewey lends 
himself to such a culling. The Dewey who punctuates his 
reasoned arguments with these effective sayings is not the 
whole Dewey, of course. The serious reader will want to go 


on to explore passages of analysis of which these concen- 
trated statements are the climax, and, to use Dewe/s own 
term, the "consummation." But the skill of Dr. Winn does 
make clear that John Dewey can rank with the best of those 
whose wisdom has produced the literature of "philosophical 
thoughts." When he has brought his explorations and in- 
quiries to a conclusion, Dewey can write, and write bril- 

Columbia University 



The editor makes grateful acknowledgment to the following pub- 
lishers and publications for permission to reprint from the works 

The American Teacher: "Crisis in Education" by John Dewey. 

Antioch Review: "Democratic Faith and Education" by John Dewey. 

Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.: The Educational Frontier edited by 
William H. Kilpatrick, copyright, 1933, The Century Co., re- 
printed by permission of Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. 

Beacon Press, Inc.: Knowing and the Known by John Dewey and 
A. F. Bentley; and Reconstruction in Philosophy by John Dewey. 

Columbia University Press: Construction and Criticism by John 
Dewey; and Naturalism and the Human Spirit by Y. H. Krikor- 

Commentary: "Liberating the Social Scientist" by John Dewey. 

E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.: Schools of Tomorrow by John and Evelyn 

Fortune Magazine: "Challenge to Liberal Thought" by John Dewey. 

Harcourt, Brace and Company: Recent Gains in American Civilization 
edited by Kirby Page. 

Harper & Brothers: Psychology by John Dewey. 

Harvard University Press: Authority and the Individual. 

D. C. Heath and Company: How We Think by John Dewey. 

Henry Holt and Company, Inc.: The Philosophy of John Dewey edited 
by Joseph Ratner. 

Houghton Mifflrn Company: Interest and Effort in Education and 
Moral Principles in Education by John Dewey. 

The Humanist, published by the American Humanist Association, Yel- 
low Springs, Ohio: "Man and Mathematics" by John Dewey. 


League for Industrial Democracy: Education and the Social Order by 
John Dewey. 

Liveright Publishing Corp.: Sources of a Science of Education by 
John Dewey. 

Longmans, Green and Company: Essays, Philosophical and Psycho- 
logical, in Honor of William James:, and Whither Mankind edited 
by C. A. Beard. 

The Macmillan Company: Contemporary American Philosophy by 
G. P. Adams and W. P. Montague; Democracy and Education, 
Encyclopedia of Education, and Encyclopedia of the Social Sci- 
ences by John Dewey. 

The New Republic: "Social Science and Social Control" by John 

Northwestern University Press: The Philosophy of John Dewey edited 
P. A. Schilpp. 

Open Court Publishing Company: Experience and Nature by John 

G. P. Putnam's Sons: Education Today edited by Joseph Ratner. 

School and Society: "Democracy and Educational Administration" by 
John Dewey. 

Simon and Schuster: Living Philosophers, 

Random House, Inc.: Intelligence in the Modern World edited by 
Joseph Ratner. 

University of Chicago Press: Essays in Experimental Logic, The Ele- 
mentary School Record and The School and Society by John 
Dewey; and The International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. 

Yale University Press: A Common Faith by John Dewey. 


1. Abstraction is indispensable if one experience is to be 
applicable to other experiences. Every concrete experience in 
its totality is unique; it is itself, non-reduplicable. Taken in its 
full concreteness, it yields no instruction, it throws no light. 
What is called abstraction means that some phase of it is selected 
for the sake of the aid it gives in grasping something else. Taken 
by itself, it is a mangled fragment, a poor substitute for the 
living whole from which it is extracted. But viewed teleologi- 
cally or practically, it represents the only way in which one 
experience can be made of any value for another. . . Looked at 
functionally, not structurally or statically, abstraction means 
that something has been released from one experience for trans- 
fer to another. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

2. There is no science without abstraction and abstraction 
means fundamentally that certain occurrences are removed 
from the dimension of familiar practical experience into that of 
reflective or theoretical inquiry. Sources of a Science of Edu- 

3. Something of the nature of abstraction is found in the case 
of all ideas and of all theories. Abstraction from assured and 
certain existential reference belongs to every suggestion of a 


possible solution; otherwise inquiry comes to an end and posi- 
tive assertion takes its place. Knotting and the Known. 
See also: Liberalism 4; School 5; Theory 4. 


1. We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice, 
or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, indi- 
vidualized, unique. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

2. Action is at the heart of ideas. The Quest for Certainty. 

3. No mode of action can, as we have insisted, give anything 
approaching absolute certitude; it provides insurance but not 
assurance. Doing is always subject to peril, to the danger of 
frustration. Ibid. 

See also: Aims and Purposes 2; Belief 1; Democracy 3; Experi- 
ence 1; Knowledge 5, 10; Liberty 4; Philosophy 3; Responsi- 
bility 1; Self 3; Theory 3; Understanding 4. 


1. An aim denotes the result of any natural process brought 
to consciousness and made a factor in determining present 
observation and choice of ways of acting. It signifies that an 
activity has become intelligent. Specifically it means foresight 
of the alternative consequences attendant upon acting in a 
given situation in different ways, and the use of what is antici- 
pated to direct observation and experiment. A true aim is thus 
opposed at every point to an aim which is imposed upon a 
process of action from without. The latter is fixed and rigid; it 
is not a stimulus to intelligence in the given situation, but is an 
externally dictated order to do such and such things. Instead 
of connecting directly with present activities, it is remote, 
divorced from the means by which it is to be reached. Instead 
of suggesting a freer and better balanced activity, it is a limit 
set to activity. In education, the currency of these externally 

___^^ ART 

imposed aims is responsible for the emphasis put upon the 
notion of preparation for a remote future and for rendering the 
work of both teacher and pupil mechanical and slavish.~D0- 
mocracy and Education. 

2. All purpose is selective, and all intelligent action includes 
deliberate choice, A Common Faith. 

3. Purposes exercise determining power in human conduct. 
The aims of philanthropists, of Florence Nightingale, of 
Howard, of Wilberf orce, of Peabody, have not been idle dreams. 
They have modified institutions. Aims, ideals do not exist sim- 
ply in "mind;" they exist in character, in personality and action. 
One might call the roll of artists, intellectual inquirers, parents, 
friends, citizens who are neighbors, to show that purposes exist 
in an operative way. Ibid. 

See also: Desire 3; Education 5, 15; Facts 2; Nature 2; Reason 
2; Society 2; Theory 2; Thinking 11. 


1. Works of art are the only media of complete and unhin- 
dered communication between man and man that can occur in 
the world full of gulfs and walls that limit community of ex- 
perience. Ar<2$ Experience. 

2. Because objects of art are expressive, they are a language. 
Rather they are many languages. For each art has its own 
medium and that medium is especially fitted for one kind of 
communication. Each medium says something that cannot he 
uttered as well and as completely in any other tongue, Ibid. 

3. The arts which today have most vitality for the average 
person are things he does not take to be arts: for instance, the 
movie, jazzed music, the comic strip, and, too frequently, news- 
paper accounts of love-nests, murders, and exploits of bandits. 
For, when what he knows as art is relegated to the museum and 
gallery, the unconquerable impulse towards experiences enjoy- 


able in themselves finds such outlet as the daily environment 
provides. Many a person who protests against the museum con- 
ception of art, still shares the fallacy from which the conception 
springs. For the popular notion comes from a separation of art 
from the objects and scenes of ordinary experience that many 
theorists and critics pride themselves upon holding and even 
elaborating. Ibid. 

4. There must be historic reasons for the rise of the compart- 
mental conception of fine art. Our present museums and gal- 
leries to which works of fine art are removed and stored illustrate 
some of the causes that have operated to segregate art instead 
of finding it an attendant of temple, forum, and other forms of 
associated life. An instructive history of modern art could be 
written in terms of the formation of the distinctively modern 
institutions of museum and exhibition gallery. I may point to 
a few outstanding facts. Most European museums are, among 
other things, memorials of the rise of nationalism and imperial- 
ism. Every capital must have its own museum of painting, sculp- 
ture, etc., devoted in part to exhibiting the greatness of its 
artistic past, and in other part, to exhibiting the loot gathered 
by its monarchs in conquest of other nations; for instance, the 
accumulations of the spoils of Napoleon that are in the Louvre. 
They testify to the connection between the modern segregation 
of art and nationalism and militarism. Art as Experience. 

5. A work of art no matter how old and classic is actually, 
not just potentially, a work of art only when it lives in some 
individualized experience. As a piece of parchment, of marble, 
of canvas, it remains self -identical throughout the ages. But as 
a work of art, it is recreated every time it is esthetically ex- 

6. There is a conflict artists themselves undergo that is in- 
structive as to the nature of imaginative experience. . . It 
concerns the opposition between inner and outer vision. There 
is a stage in which the inner vision seems much richer and 


finer than any outer manifestation. It has a vast, an enticing 
aura of implications that are lacking in the object of external 
vision. It seems to grasp much more than the latter conveys. 
Then there comes a reaction; the matter of the inner vision 
seems wraith-like compared with the solidity and energy of 
the presented scene. The object is felt to say something suc- 
cinctly and forcibly that the inner vision reports vaguely, in 
diffuse feeling rather than organically. The artist is driven to 
submit himself in humility to the discipline of the objective 
vision. But the inner vision is not cast out. It remains as the 
organ by which outer vision is controlled, and it takes on struc- 
ture as the latter is absorbed within it. The interaction of the 
two modes of vision is imagination; as imagination takes form 
the work of art is born. Ibid. 

7. We lay hold of the full import of a work of art only as we 
go through in our own vital processes the processes the artist 
went through in producing the work. It is the critic's privilege 
to share in the promotion of this active process. Art as Ex- 

See also: Culture 2; Logic 1; Mind 1; Possibility 2, 3; Science 5; 


1. The genuine problem is the relation between authority 
and freedom. . . Authority stands for stability of social organiza- 
tion by means of which direction and support are given to in- 
dividuals while individual freedom stands for the forces by 
which change is intentionally brought about. The issue that 
requires constant attention is the intimate and organic union 
of the two things: of authority and freedom, of stability and 
change. "Authority and Social Change/* in Authority and the 
Individual ( a Symposium ) . 

2. A survey of history shows that while the individualistic 


philosophy was wrong in setting authority and freedom, sta- 
bility and change, in opposition to one another, it was justified 
in finding the organized institutional embodiments of authority 
so external to the new wants and purposes that were stirring as 
to be in fact oppressive. The persons and classes who exercised 
the power that comes from the possession of authority were 
hostile to the variable and fresh qualities, the qualities of initia- 
tive, invention, and enterprise, in which change roots. The 
power exercised was the more oppressive and obstructive be- 
cause it was not just physical but had that hold upon imagina- 
tion, emotions, and purpose which properly belongs to the 
principle of authority. Underneath, it was not a conflict be- 
tween social organization and individuals, between authority 
and freedom, but between conservative factors in the very 
make-up of individuals factors that had the strength that is 
derived from the inertia of customs and traditions ingrained by 
long endurance and the liberating, the variable and innovating 
factors in the constitution of individuals. It was a struggle for 
authoritative power between the old and the new; between 
forces concerned with conservation of values that the past had 
produced and forces that made for new beliefs and new modes 
of human association. It was also the struggle between groups 
and classes of individuals between those who were enjoying 
the advantages that spring from possession of power to which 
authoritative right accrues, and individuals who found them- 
selves excluded from the powers and enjoyments to which they 
felt themselves entitled. The necessity of adjusting the old and 
the new, of harmonizing the stability that comes from con- 
serving the established with the variability that springs from 
the emergence of new needs and efforts of individuals this 
necessity is inherent in, or a part of, the very texture of life. 

3. We need an authority that, unlike the older forms in which 
it operated, is capable of directing and utilizing change, and 


we need a kind of individual freedom . . . that is general and 
shared and that has the backing and guidance of socially or- 
ganized authoritative control. I&td 

4. The need for authority is a constant need of man. For it 
is the need for principles that are both stable enough and 
flexible enough to give direction to the processes of living in 
its vicissitudes and uncertainties. Libertarians have often 
weakened their case by the virtual assumption that authority 
in every form and mode is the great enemy. In making this 
assumption, they play directly into the hands of those who 
insist upon the necessity of some external and dogmatic au- 
thority, whether ecclesiastical or political or a mixture of both. 
The underlying problem of recent centuries is the question of 
whether and how scientific method, which is the method of 
intelligence in experimental action, can provide the authority 
that earlier centuries sought in fixed dogmas. The conflict of 
science and religion is one phase of this conSict Problems of 

See also: Belief 2; Democracy 3, 7; Freedom 5; Leadership; 
Right 1; School 2. 



1. Any belief as such is tentative, hypothetical; it is not just 
to be acted upon, but is to be framed with reference to its 
office as a guide to action. Consequently, it should be the last 
thing in the world to be picked up casually and then clung to 
rigidly. The Quest for Certainty. 

2. Beliefs current in morals, politics and religion are marked 
by dread of change and by the feeling that order and regulative 
authority can be had only through reference to fixed standards 
accepted as finalities, because referring to fixed antecedent 
realities. Outside of physical inquiry, we shy from problems; 
we dislike uncovering serious difficulties in their full depth and 
reach; we prefer to accept what is and muddle through. Ibid, 

3. There is no belief so settled as not to be exposed to further 
inquiry, Logfc; the Theory of Inquiry. 

4. During periods in which social customs were static, when 
isolation of groups from one another was the rule, it was com- 
paratively easy for men to live in complacent assurance as to 
the finality of their own practices and beliefs. That time has 
gone. The problem of attaining mutual understanding and a 
reasonable degree of amicable cooperation among different 
peoples, races, and classes is bound up with the problem of 



reaching by peaceful and democratic means some workable 
adjustment of the values, standards, and ends which are now 
in a state of conflict. "Antinaturalism in Extremis/' in Natural- 
ism and the Human Spirit (a Symposium, ed. by Y. H. Kriko- 

See also: Children 2; Desire; Experimental Method 1, 2; Logic; 
Loyalty 2; Religion 2, 7, 9. 


The brain is primarily an organ of a certain kind of behavior, 
not of knowing the world. In the Creative Intelligence: Essays 
in the Pragmatic Attitude ( a Symposium) . 
See also: Environment 5; Man 3; Self 4; Thinking 9. 


1. The first thinker who proclaimed that every event is effect 
of something and cause of something else, that every particular 
existence is both conditioned and condition, merely put into 
words the procedure of the woikmBJ^.. Experience and Nature. 

2. A "cause" is not merely an antecedent; it is that antecedent 
which if manipulated regulates the occurrence of the conse- 
quent. That is why the sun rather than night is the causal con- 
dition of day. Ibid. 

See also: Chance. 


1. Men readily persuade themselves that they are devoted to 
intellectual certainty for its own sake. Actually they want it 
because of its bearing on safeguarding what they desire and 
esteem. Tfo# Quest for Certainty. 

2. The quest for certainty is a quest for a peace which is 
assured. Ibid. 

See also: Action 3; Chance. 


Man finds himself living in an aleatory world; his existence 
involves, to put it baldly, a gamble. The world is a scene of 



risk; it is uncertain, unstable, uncannily unstable. Its dangers 
are irregular, inconsistent, not to be counted upon as to their 
times and seasons. . . Our magical safeguard against the un- 
certain character of the world is to deny the existence of chance, 
to mumble universal and necessary law, the ubiquity o cause 
and effect, the uniformity of nature, universal progress, and 
the inherent rationality of the universe. Those magic formulae 
borrow their potency from conditions that are not magical. 
Through science we have secured a degree of power of pre- 
diction and control. . . But when all is said and done, the 
fundamentally hazardous character of the world is not seriously 
modified, much less eliminated. Experience and Nature. 
See also: Law of Nature 3; Security 1. 


1. Since changes are going on anyway, the great thing is to 
learn enough about them so that we be able to lay hold of them 
and turn them in the direction of our desires. Conditions and 
events are neither to be fled from nor passively acquiesced in; 
they are to be utilized and directed. They are either obstacles 
to our ends or else means for their accomplishment. Recon- 
struction in Philosophy. 

2. Whatever influences the changes of other things is itself 
changed. Experience and Nature. 

3. Today there are no patterns sufficiently enduring to pro- 
vide anything stable in which to acquiesce, and there is no 
material out of which to frame final and all-inclusive ends. 
There is, on the other hand, such constant change that acqui- 
escence is but a series of interrupted spasms, and the outcome 
is mere drifting. In such a situation, fixed and comprehensive 
goals are but irrelevant dreams, while acquiescence is not a 
policy but its abnegation. IndfoidwaKsm, Old and New. 

4. It is demonstrable that many of the obstacles to change 



which have been attributed to human nature are in fact due 
to the inertia of institutions and to the voluntary desire of 
powerful classes to maintain the existing states. "Human Na- 
ture," in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, VII. 

5. Any existential change is from a past into a present, some- 
thing future to its past-Reply in The Philosophy of John 
Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by P. A. Schilpp). 
See also: Authority 1, 3; Belief 2; Conservatism 2, 4; Experience 

1; Experimental Method 2; History 6; Knowledge 6; Law 

2; Liberalism 4; Morality 7; Nature 1. 


1. A man may give himself away in a look or a gesture. 
Character can be read through the medium of individual acts. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. Character is the interpenetration of habits. If each habit 
existed in an insulated compartment and operated without 
affecting or being affected by others, character would not exist. 
That is, conduct would lack unity being only a juxtaposition of 
disconnected reactions to separate situations. Ibid. 

See also: Aims and Purposes 3; Interaction 2; Responsibility 3; 
School 8; Society 4. 


1. Children's alleged native egoism is simply an egoism which 
runs counter to an adult's egoism. To a grown-up person who 
is too absorbed in his own affairs to take an interest in children's 
affairs, children doubtless seem unreasonably engrossed in their 
own affairs. Democracy and Education. 

2. Because of his physical dependence and impotency, the 
contacts of the little child with nature are mediated by other 
persons. Mother and nurse, father and older children determine 
what experiences the child shall have; they constantly instruct 



him as to the meaning of what he does and undergoes. The 
conceptions that are socially current and important become 
the child's principles of interpretation and estimation long be- 
fore he attains to personal and deliberate control of conduct, 
Things come to him clothed in language, not in physical naked- 
ness, and this garb of communication makes him a sharer in the 
beliefs of those about him. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 
See also: Education 8, 9; Learning 1; Obedience; Reading; 
School 1, 5; Teaching 1, 6. 


Intelligent choice is still choice. It still involves preference for 
one kind of end rather than another one which might have 
been worked for. It involves a conviction that such and such 
an end is valuable, worthwhile, rather than another. In The 
Educational Frontier (with J. L. Childs; a Symposium, ed. by 
See also: Aims and Purposes 1, 2; Individuality 2; Self 2, 3. 


1. If ever there was a house of civilization divided within 
itself and against itself, it is our own today. "A Critique of 
American Civilization," in Recent Gains of American Civiliza- 
tion (a Symposium, ed. by K. Page). 

2. Our civilization is so predominantly a business civiliza- 
tion. Individualism, Old and New. 

3. The measure of civilization is the degree in which the 
method of cooperative intelligence replaces the method of brute 
conflict. Liberalism and Social Action. 

4. We are living in a mixed and divided life. We are pulled 
in opposite directions. We have not as yet a philosophy that is 
modern in other than a chronological sense. We do not have as 
yet an educational or any other institution that is not a mixture 



of opposite elements. Division between methods and conclu- 
sions in natural science and those prevailing in morals and 
religion is a serious matter, from whatever angle it be regarded. 
It means a society that is not unified in its most important con- 
cerns.-"Challenge to Liberal Thought," in the Fortune, XXX 

5. Civilization itself is the product of altered human nature. 
Problems of Men. 

See also: Education 1, 11; Humanity; Individual 1; Language 2; 
Learning 2; Philosophers 5. 


Things have to be sorted out and arranged so that their group- 
ing will promote successful action for ends. . . Classification 
transforms a wilderness of byways in experience into a well- 
ordered system of roads, promoting transportation and com- 
munication in inquiry. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 


Communication is a process of sharing experience till it be- 
comes a common possession. Democracy and Education. 
See also: Art 1, 2; Children 2; Classification; Community 1; 
Discussion 1; Freedom of Thought 2; Words 3, 4. 


1. Men live in a community in virtue of the things which 
they have in common; and communication is the way in which 
they come to possess things in common. What they must have 
in common in order to form a community or society are aims, 
beliefs, aspirations, knowledge a common understanding like- 
mindedness as the sociologists say. Such things cannot be 
passed physically from one to another, like bricks; they cannot 
be shared as persons would share a pie by dividing it into physi- 



cal pieces. The communication which insures participation in 
a common understanding is one which secures similar emotional 
and intellectual dispositions like ways of responding to expec- 
tations and requirements. Democracy and Education. 

2. As soon as a community depends to any considerable ex- 
tent upon what lies beyond its own territory and its own im- 
mediate generation, it must rely upon the set agency of schools 
to insure adequate transmission of all its resource. Ibid. 
See also: Conscience; Democracy 5; Education 5; Humanity; 
Justice; Philosophy 6; State 4. 


All conduct is interaction between elements of human nature 
and the environment, natural and social. Human Nature and 

See also: Aims and Purposes 3; Character 2; Children 2; Ideals 
2, 5; Society 4; Wisdom 2. 


Our intelligence is bound up, so far as its materials are con- 
cerned, with the community life of which we are a part. We 
know what it communicates to us, and know according to the 
habits it forms in us. . . So with conscience. When a child acts, 
those about him re-act. They shower encouragement upon Mm, 
visit him with approval, or they bestow frowns and rebuke* 
What others do to us when we act is as natural a consequence 
of our action as what the fire does to us when we plunge our 
hands in it. The social environment may be as artificial as you 
please. But its action in response to ours is natural, not artificial. 
In language and imagination we rehearse the responses of others 
just as we dramatically enact other consequences. We foreknow 
how others will act, and the foreknowledge is the beginning of 
judgment passed on action. We know with them; there is 



conscience. An assembly is formed within our breast which 
discusses and appraises proposed and performed acts. The 
community without becomes a forum and tribunal within, a 
judgment-seat of charges, assessments and exculpations. Our 
thoughts of our own actions are saturated with the ideas that 
others entertain about them, ideas which have been expressed 
not only in explicit instruction but still more effectively in re- 
action to our acts. Human Nature and Conduct. 


1. Consciousness is only a very small and shifting portion of 
experience. Essays in Experimental Logic. 

2. To assert that conscious behavior is a fiction is to draw a 
logical deduction from a premise, not to observe a fact. And 
since the fact of conscious behavior, of observing, analyzing, 
noting, reasoning, is involved in the whole undertaking, the 
absurdity of conclusion shows the falsity of the premise. Phi- 
losophy and Civilization. 

See also: Aims and Purposes 1; Education 1; Existence; Knowl- 
edge 7; Mind 3, 6; Relations 1. 


1. Let us admit the case of the conservative: if we once start 
thinking no one can guarantee what will be the outcome, except 
that many objects, ends, and institutions will be surely doomed. 
Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world 
in peril, and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its 
place. Characters and Events. 

2. In the world of natural change, men learned control by 
means of the systematic invention of effective tools only when 
they gave up preoccupation with lofty principles logically ar- 
ranged, and occupied themselves seriously witib the turmoil of 
concrete observable changes. Till we accomplish a like revolu- 



tion in social and moral affairs, our politics will continue to be 
an idle spectator of an alternation of social comedies and trage- 
dies, compensating for its impotency by reducing its applause 
and hisses to a scheme of fixed canons which the show is then 
imagined to exemplify. Ibid. 

3. Men's minds are still pathetically in the clutch of old habits 
and haunted by old memories. Liberalism and Social Action. 
4 The assertion that human nature cannot be changed is 
heard when social changes are urged as reforms and improve- 
ments of existing conditions. It is always heard when the pro- 
posed changes in institutions or conditions stand in sharp op- 
position to what exists. If the conservative were wiser, he would 
rest his objections in most cases, not upon the unchangeability 
of human nature, but upon the inertia of custom; upon the 
resistance that acquired habits offer to change after they are 
once acquired. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks and it 
is harder yet to teach society to adopt customs which are con- 
trary to those which have long prevailed. Conservatism of this 
type would be intelligent, and it would compel those wanting 
change not only to moderate their pace, but also to ask how the 
changes they desire could be introduced with a minimum of 
shock and dislocation. Problems of Men. 
See also: Authority 2, 


1. Every individual is in some way original and creative in 
his very make-up; that is the meaning of individuality. What 
is most needed is to get rid of what stifles and chokes its mani- 
festation. When the oppressive and artificial load is removed, 
each will find his own opportunity for positive constructive 
work in some field. And it is not the extent, the area, of his 
work that is important as much as its quality and intensity. 
Construction and Criticism. 



2. Creative activity is our great need; but criticism, self- 
criticism, is the road to its release. I&id. 
See also: Thinking 12. 


Criticism is discriminating judgment, careful appraisal, and 
judgment is appropriately termed criticism wherever the sub- 
ject-matter of discrimination concerns goods or values. Ex- 
perience and Nature. 

See also: Art 7; Creative Work 2; Freedom of Thought 2; Phi- 
losophy 8; School 6. 


1. Unless culture be a superficial polish, a veneering of ma- 
hogany over common wood, it surely is thisthe growth of the 
imagination in flexibility, in scope, and in sympathy. The 
School and Society. 

2. Culture ... is opposed to the raw and crude. When the 
"natural" is identified with this rawness, culture is opposed to 
what is called natural development. Culture is also something 
personal; it is cultivation with respect to appreciation of ideas 
and art and broad human interests ... It is the capacity for 
constantly expanding the range and accuracy of one's percep- 
tion of meanings. Democracy and Education. 

3. Since we can neither beg nor borrow a culture without 
betraying both it and ourselves, nothing remains save to produce 
one. Characters and Events. 

4. Each culture has its own individuality and has a pattern 
that binds its parts together. Aft as Experience. 

5. The state of culture is a state of interaction of many 
factors, the chief of which are law and politics, industry and 
commerce, science and technology, the arts of expression and 
communication, and of morals, or the values men prize and the 



ways in which they evaluate them; and finally, though in- 
directly, the system of general ideas used by men to justify and 
to criticize the fundamental conditions under which they live, 
their social plnlosophy.-^Freedom and Culture. 

6. The idea of culture . . . points to the conclusion that what- 
ever are the native constituents of human nature, the culture 
of a period and group is the determining influence in their 
arrangement; it is that which determines the patterns of be- 
havior that mark out the activities of any group, family, clan, 
people, sect, faction, class, It is at least as true that the state of 
culture determines the order and arrangement of native tenden- 
cies as that human nature produces any particular set or system 
of social phenomena so as to obtain satisfaction for itself. The 
problem is to find out the way in which the elements of a 
culture interact with each other and the way in which the ele- 
ments of human nature are caused to interact with one another 
under conditions set by their interaction with the existing en- 
vironment. For example, if our American culture is largely a 
pecuniary culture, it is not because the original or innate 
structure of human nature tends of itself to obtaining pecuniary 
profit. It is rather that a certain complex culture stimulates, 
promotes and consolidates native tendencies so as to produce 
a certain pattern of desires and purposes. IfczdL 

7. No matter what is the native make-up of human nature, 
its working activities, those which respond to institutions and 
rules and which finally shape the pattern of the latter, are 
created by the whole body of occupations, interests, skills, 
beliefs that constitute a given culture. As the latter changes, 
especially as it grows complex and intricate in the way in 
which American life has changed since our political organiza- 
tion took shape, new problems take the place of those governing 
the earlier formation and distribution of political powers. Ibid!. 
See also: Education 4, 12; Experience 9; History 6; Liberalism 4. 




There is no single faculty called "curiosity"; every normal 
organ of sense and of motor activity is on the qui viue. It wants 
a chance to be active, and it needs some object in order to act. 
The sum total of these outgoing tendencies constitutes curi- 
osity. It is the basic factor in enlargement of experience. How 
We Think. 
See also: Ignorance; Reading. 



No one is deceived so readily as a person under strong emo- 
tion. Human Nature and Conduct. 
Sec also: Desire 1; Reality 2. 


1. Definition means essentially the growth of a meaning out 
of vagueness into definiteness. How We Think. 

2. A definition is good when it is sagacious, and it is that 
when it so points the direction in which we can move expe- 
ditiously toward having an experience. Physics and chemistry 
have learned by the inward necessity o their tasks that a defi- 
nition is that which indicates to us how things are made, and 
in so far enables to predict their occurrence, to test for their 
presence and, sometimes, to make them ourselves. Theorists 
and literary critics have lagged far behind. They are still largely 
in thrall to the ancient metaphysics of essence according to 
which a definition, if it is "correct/* discloses to us some inward 
reality. Art as Experience. 


1. Modern life means democracy, democracy means freeing 
intelligence for independent effectiveness-the emancipation of 



mind as an individual organ to do its own work. We naturally 
associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but 
freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it 
is only chaos. "Democracy in Education," in the Elementary 
School Teacher, IV ( 1903 ) . 

2. Democracy inevitably carries with it increased respect for 
the individual as an individual, greater opportunity for freedom, 
independence, and initiative in conduct and thought, and cor- 
respondingly demand for fraternal regard and for self-imposed 
and voluntarily borne responsibilities. "Democracy and Edu- 
cation," in the Cyclopedia of Education (ed. by P. Monroe). 

3. The devotion of democracy to education is a familiar fact. 
The superficial explanation is that a government resting upon 
popular suffrage cannot be successful unless those who elect 
and who obey their governors are educated. Since a demo- 
cratic society repudiates the principle of external authority, it 
must find a substitute in voluntary disposition and interest; 
these can be created only by education. But there is a deeper 
explanation. A democracy is more than a form of government; 
it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint com- 
municated experience. The extension in space of the number 
of individuals who participate in an interest so that each has 
to refer his own action to that of others, and to consider the 
action of others to give point and direction to his own, is 
equivalent to the breaking down of those barriers of class, race, 
and national territory which kept men from perceiving the 
full import of their activity. These more numerous and more 
varied points of contact denote a greater diversity of stimuli 
to which an individual has to respond; they consequently put 
a premium on variation in his action. They secure a liberation 
of powers which remain suppressed as long as the incitations 
to action are partial, as they must be in a group which in its 
exclusiveness shuts out many interests. 

The widening of the area of shared concerns, and the libera- 



tion of a greater diversity of personal capacities which charac- 
terize a democracy, are not of course the product of delibera- 
tion and conscious effort On the contrary, they are caused hy 
the development of modes of manufacture and commerce, 
travel, migration, and intercommunication which flowed from 
the command of science over natural energy. But after greater 
individualization on one hand, and a broader community of 
interest on the other have come into existence, it is a matter of 
deliberate effort to sustain and extend them. Obviously a so- 
ciety to which stratification into separate classes would be 
fatal, must see to it that intellectual opportunities are accessible 
to all on equable and easy terms. A society marked off into 
classes need be specially attentive only to the education of its 
ruling elements. A society which is mobile, which is full of 
channels for the distribution of a change occurring anywhere, 
must see to it that its members are educated to personal initia- 
tive and adaptability, Democracy and Education. 

4 Democracy has many meanings, but if it has a moral mean- 
ing, it is found in resolving that the supreme task of all political 
institutions and industrial governments shall be the contribu- 
tion they make to the all-round growth of every member of 
society. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

5. Democracy must begin at home, and its home is the 
neighborly community. The Public and Its Problems. 

6. We have talked a great deal about democracy, and now 
for the first time we have to make an effort to find out what it 
is. Characters and Events. 

7. The democratic faith is individual in that it asserts the 
claims of every individual to the opportunity for realization of 
potentialities unhampered by birth, family status, unequal legal 
restrictions, and external authority. By the same token it has 
been social in character. It has recognized that this end for in- 
dividuals cannot be attained save through a particular type of 
political and legal institution. Historically, conditions empha- 



sized at first the negative phase of this principle: the overthrow 
of institutions that were autocratic. It is now seen that the posi- 
tive side of the principle needs attention; namely, the extension 
of democracy to the creation of the kind of institutions that 
will effectively and constructively serve the development of all 
individuals. In The Educational Frontier (with J. L. Childs; a 
Symposium., ed. by W. L. Kilpatrick). 

8. Democracy is much broader than a special political form, 
a method of conducting government, of making laws and carry- 
ing on governmental administration by means of popular suf- 
frage and elected officers. It is that, of course. But it is something 
broader and deeper than that. The political and governmental 
phase of democracy is a means, the best means so far found, for 
realizing ends in the wide domain of human relationships 
and the development of human personality. It is, as we often 
say, though without appreciating all that is involved in the say- 
ing, a way of life, social and individual. The key-note of de- 
mocracy as a way of life may be expressed, it seems to me, as 
the necessity for the participation of every mature human being 
in formation of the values that regulate the living of men to- 
gether; which is necessary from the standpoint of both the 
general social welfare and the full development of human 
beings as individuals. "Democracy and Educational Adminis- 
tration," in School and Society, XLV (1937). 

9. Democratic ends demand democratic methods for their 
realization. Freedom and Culture. 

10. For a long period we acted as if our democracy were 
something that perpetuated itself automatically; as if our an- 
cestors had succeeded in setting up a machine that solved the 
problem of perpetual motion in politics. We acted as if de- 
mocracy were something that took place mainly at Washington 
and Albany or some other state capital under the impetus of 
what happened when men and women went to the polls once a 
year or so which is a somewhat extreme way of saying that 



we have had the habit of thinking of democracy as a kind of 
political mechanism that will work as long as citizens were 
reasonably faithful in performing political duties. 

Of late years we have heard more and more frequently that 
this is not enough. . . . Democracy as a personal, an individual, 
way of life involves nothing fundamentally new. But when 
applied it puts a new practical meaning in old ideas. Put into 
effect it signifies that powerful present enemies of democracy 
can be successfully met only by the creation of personal atti- 
tudes in individual human beings; that we must get over our 
tendency to think that its defense can be found in any external 
means whatever, whether military or civil, if they are separated 
from individual attitudes so deep-seated as to constitute per- 
sonal character. 

Democracy is a way of life controlled by a working faith in 
the possibilities of human nature. Belief in the Common Man 
is a familiar article in the democratic creed. That belief is with- 
out basis and significance save as it means faith in the poten- 
tialities of human nature as that nature is exhibited in every 
human being irrespective of race, color, sex, birth, and family, 
of material or cultural wealth. This faith may be enacted in 
statutes, but it is only on paper unless it is put in force in the 
attitudes which human beings display to one another in all the 
incidents and relations of daily life. To denounce Nazism for 
intolerance, cruelty and stimulation of hatred amounts to foster- 
ing insincerity if, in our personal relations to other persons, 
if, in our daily walk and conversation, we are moved by 
racial, color, or other class prejudice; indeed, by anything 
save a generous belief in their possibilities as human be- 
ings, a belief which brings with it the need for provid- 
ing conditions which will enable these capacities to reach 
fulfillment The democratic faith in human equality is be- 
lief that every human being, independent of the quantity 
or range of his personal endowment, has the right to equal op- 



pO'rtunity with every other person for development of whatever 
gifts he has. The democratic belief in the principle of leadership 
is a generous one. It is universal It is belief in the capacity of 
every person to lead his own life free from coercion and imposi- 
tion by others provided right conditions are supplied.-^Crea- 
tive Democracy/' in The Philosopher of the Common Man: 
Essays in Honor of John Dewey ( a Symposium, ed. by W. H. 

11. Democracy is not an easy road to take and follow. On the 
contrary, it is as far as its realization is concerned in the com- 
plex conditions of the contemporary world a supremely difficult 
one. Upon the whole we are entitled to take courage from the 
fact that it has worked as well as it has done. But to' this courage 
we must add, if our courage is to be intelligent rather than blind, 
the fact that successful maintenance of democracy demands the 
utmost in the use of the best available methods to procure a 
social knowledge that is reasonably commensurate with our 
physical knowledge, and the invention and use of forms of 
social engineering reasonably commensurate with our tech- 
nological abilities in physical affairs. --"Democratic Faith and 
Education/' in the Antioch Review, IV ( 1944 ) . 

12. The foundation of democracy is faith in the capacities 
of human nature; faith in human intelligence and in the power 
of pooled and cooperative experience. Problems of Men. 
See also: Differences; Equality; Freedom 9; Intelligence 3; 

Liberalism 3; School 2, 8, 9; Teaching 6. 


1. It is customary to describe desires in terms of their ob- 
jects, meaning by objects the things which figure as in imagina- 
tion their goals. As the object is noble or base, so, it is thought, 
is desire. In any case, emotions rise and cluster about the object. 



This stands out so conspicuously in immediate experience that 
it monopolizes the central position in the traditional psycholog- 
ical theory of desire. Barring gross self-deception or the frustra- 
tion o external circumstances, the outcome, or end-result, of 
desire is regarded by this theory as similar to the end-in-view or 
object consciously desired. Such, however, is not the case, as 
readily appears from the analysis of deliberation . . . 

The object desired and the attainment of desire are no more 
alike than a signboard on the road is like the garage to which 
it points and which it recommends to the traveler. Desire is 
the forward urge of living creatures. When the push and drive 
of life meets no obstacle, there is nothing which we call desire, 
There is just life-activity, But obstructions present themselves, 
and activity is dispersed and divided. Desire is the outcome. It 
is activity surging forward to break through what dams it up. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. Desire has a powerful influence upon intellectual beliefs, 
A Common Faith. 

3. Need and desire out of which grow purpose and direction 
of energy go beyond what exists, . . . They continually open 
the way into the unexplored and unattained future. "Creative 
Democracy,*' in The Philosopher of the Common Man: Essays 
in Honor of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by W. H. Kil- 

See also: Change 1; Good and Evil 3; Growth 2; Habit 5; In- 
telligence 2; Open-mindedness 2; Truth 1; Value 5. 


To cooperate by giving differences a chance to show them- 
selves because of the belief that the expression of difference is 
not only a right of the other persons but is a means of enriching 
one's own life-experience, is inherent in the democratic personal 



way of life. "Creative Democracy/' in The Philosopher of the 
Common Man: Essays in Honor of John Dewey ( a Symposium, 
See also: Pluralism, 


1. The discipline of the school should proceed from the life 
of the school as a whole and not directly from the teacher. 
My Pedagogic Creed. 

2. Discipline means power at command; mastery of the re- 
sources available for carrying through the action undertaken. 
To know what one is to do and to move to do it promptly and 
by use of the requisite means is to be disciplined, whether we 
are thinking of an army or a mind. Discipline is positive. To 
cow the spirit, to subdue inclination, to compel obedience, to 
mortify the flesh, to make a subordinate perform an uncongenial 
task these things are or are not disciplinary according as they 
do or do not tend to the development of power to recognize 
what one is about and to persistence in accomplishment 
Democracy and Education. 

See also: Doubt 1; Education 15; Mind 4; School 2. 


1. Discussion is communication, and it is by communication 
that ideas are shared and become a common possession. Reply 
in The Philosophy of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by P. A. 

2. Discussion is moral in the degree in which it consists of 
complaints about what exists and exhortations about what 
should or ought to exist. "Liberating the Social Scientist/* in 
the Commentary, IV ( 1947) . 

See also: School 6; Tolerance 2. 




1. The natural man is impatient with doubt and suspense: 
he impatiently hurries to be shut of it. A disciplined mind takes 
delight in the problematic, and cherishes it until a way out is 
found that approves itself upon examination. The Quest for 

2. We only inquire and form hypotheses which future inquiry 
will confirm or reject. But such doubts are an incident of faith in 
the method of intelligence. They are signs of faith, not of a 
pale and impotent skepticism. We doubt in order that we may 
find out. A Common Faith. 

3. Personal states of doubt that are not evoked by, and are 
not relative to, some existential situation are pathological; when 
they are extreme they constitute the mania of doubting. Logic; 
The Theory of Inquiry. 

See also: Inquiry 1; Mind 5; Thinking 5. 


1. Dreams are not something outside of the regular course 
of events; they are in and of it. They are not cognitive distor- 
tions of real things; they are more real things. There is nothing 
abnormal in their existence, any more than there is in the burst- 
ing of a bottle. But they may be abnormal, from the standpoint 
of their influence, if their operation as stimuli is calling out re- 
sponses to modify the future. Dreams have often been taken 
as prognostics of what is to happen; they have modified con- 
duct. In the Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Pragmatic 
Attitude ( a Symposium ) . 

2, Since I begin with experience as the manifestation of 
interactions of organism and environment, it follows that the 
distinction between the things of a dream and of waking life 
is one to be itself stated in terms of different modes of interac- 



tiou. Reply in the Philosophy of John Dewey ( a Symposium, 


See also: Nature 2; Reality 2. 


There is no doubt that the ability to perform an irksome 
duty is a very useful accomplishment, but the usefulness does 
not lie in the irksomeness of the task. Things are not useful 
or necessary because they are unpleasant or tiresome, but in 
spite of these characteristics. Schools of To-Morrow (with 
Evelyn Dewey). 
See also: Freedom of Thought 2; Teaching 2; Tolerance 2. 




Economics is the science of phenomena due to one love and 
one aversion gain and laboi.Human Nature and Conduct. 
See also: Labor; Peace; Power 2; Production and Consumption 


1. All education proceeds by the participation of the individ- 
ual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins 
unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the 
individual's powers, saturating his consciousness, forming his 
habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emo- 
tions. Through this unconscious education the individual gradu- 
ally comes to share in the intellectual and moral resources 
which humanity has succeeded in getting together. He be^- 
comes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization. The 
most formal and technical education in the world cannot 
safely depart from this general process. It can only organize 
it or differentiate it in some particular direction. My Peda- 
gogic Creed. 

2. Education ... is a process of living and not a preparation 
for future living. Ibid. 



3. Education is the fundamental method of social progress 
and reform. Ifcid; also Education Today. 

4. While our educational leaders are talking of culture, the 
development of personality, etc., as the end and aim of edu- 
cation, the great majority of those who pass under the tuition 
of the school regard it only as a narrowly practical tool with 
which to get bread and butter enough to eke out a restricted 
life. The School and Society. 

5. Speaking generally, education signifies the sum total of 
processes by which a community or social group, whether small 
or large, transmits its acquired power and aims with a view to 
securing its own continued existence and growth. "Education/' 
in the Cyclopedia of Education ( ed. by P. Monroe ) . 

6. Education may be defined as a process of continuous 
reconstruction of experience with the purpose of widening and 
deepening its social content, while, at the same time, the individ- 
ual gains control of the methods involved. Ibid. 

7. The function of education is to help the growing of a help- 
less young animal into a happy, moral, and efficient human 
being. Schools of To-Morrow ( with Evelyn Dewey ) . 

8. Education is not something to be forced upon children 
and youth from without, but is the growth of capacities with 
which human beings are endowed at birth. Ibid. 

9. Education which treats all children as if their impulses 
were those of the average of an adult society is sure to go on 
reproducing that same average society without even finding 
out whether and how it might be better, Ibid. 

10. The educative process is a continuous process of growth, 
having as its aim at every stage an added capacity of growth. 
Democracy and Education. 

11. Even in a savage tribe, the achievements of adults are 
far beyond what the immature members would be capable of 
if left to themselves. With the growth of civilization, the gap 
between the original capacities of the immature and the stand- 



ards and customs of the elders increases. Mere physical grow- 
ing up, mere mastery of the bare necessities of subsistence will 
not suffice to reproduce the life of the group. Deliberate effort 
and the taking of thoughtful pains are required. Beings who are 
born not only unaware of, but quite indifferent to, the aims and 
habits of the social group have to be rendered cognizant of 
them and actively interested. Education, and education alone, 
spans the gap. Ibid. 

12. The best thing that can be said about any special process 
of education, like that of the formal school period, is that it 
renders its subject capable of further education: more sensi- 
tive to conditions of growth and more able to take advantage 
of them. Acquisition of skill, possession of knowledge, attain- 
ment of culture are not ends: they are marks of growth and 
means to its continuing. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

13. Those who received education are those who give it; 
habits already engendered deeply influence its course. . . . 
There is no possibility of complete escape from this circle. 
"Body and Mind/' in the Bulletin of the N. Y. Academy of Medi- 
cine, IV (1928). 

14. We educate for the status quo and when the students go 
forth they do not find anything so settled that it can be called 
anything of a static kind. Education and the Social Order. 

15. The history of educational theory is marked "by oppo- 
sition between the idea that education is development from 
within and that it is a formation from without; that it is based 
upon natural endowments and that education is a process of 
overcoming natural inclinations and substituting in its place 
habits acquired under external pressure, ... To imposition 
from above is opposed expression and cultivation of individ- 
uality; to external discipline is opposed free activity; to ac- 
quisition of isolated skills and techniques by drill is opposed 
acquisition of them as means of attaining ends which make 
direct vital appeal; to preparation for a more or less remote 



future is opposed making the most of opportunities of present 
life; to static aims and materials is opposed acquaintance with 
a changing world. Experience and Education. 
See also: Aims and Purposes 1; Democracy 3; Growth 2, 3; 

Learning 1; Money 3; School 1, 2, 4, 6 ? 8, 9; Science 5; 

Teaching 3. 


1. A being whose activities are associated with others has a 
social environment. What he does and what he can do depend 
upon the expectations, demands, approvals, and condemnations 
of others. A being connected with other beings cannot perform 
his own activities without taking the activities of others into 
account. For they are the indispensable conditions of the reali- 
zation of his tendencies. When he moves he stirs them and 
reciprocally. We might as well try to imagine a business man 
doing business, buying and selling, all by himself, as to con- 
ceive it possible to define the activities of an individual in terms 
of his isolated actions. Democracy and Education, 

2. Complete adaptation to environment means death. The 
essential point in all response is the desire to control the environ- 
mentFrom a Lecture, September 29, 1924. 

3. Whatever else organic life is or is not, it is a process of 
activity that involves an environment. It is a transaction ex- 
tending beyond the spatial limits of the organism. An organism 
does not live in an environment; it lives by means of an environ- 
ment. Breathing, the ingestion of food, the ejection of waste 
products, are cases of direct integration; the circulation of the 
blood and the energizing of the nervous system are relatively 
indirect. But every organic function is an interaction of intra- 
organic and extra-organic energies, either directly or indirectly. 
For life involves expenditure of energy and the energy ex- 
pended can be replenished only as the activities performed 



succeed in making return drafts upon the environment-the 
only source of restoration of energy. Not even a hibernating 
animal can live indefinitely upon itself. The energy that is 
drawn is not forced in from without; it is a consequence of 
energy expended. If there is a surplus balance, growth occurs. 
If there is a deficit balance, degeneration commences. 

It follows that with every differentiation of structure the 
environment expands. For a new organ provides a new way of 
interacting in which things in the world that were previously 
indifferent enter into life-functions. The environment of an 
animal that is locomotor differs from that of a sessile plant; 
that of a jellyfish differs from that of a trout, and the environ- 
ment of any fish differs from that of a bird. So, to repeat what 
was just said, the difference is not just that a fish lives in the 
water and a bird in the air, but that the characteristic functions 
of these animals are what they are because of the special way 
in which water and air enter into their respective activities. - 
Logic: the Theory of Inquiry. 

4. The fine old saying "A sound mind in a sound body" can 
and should be extended to read "A sound human being in a 
sound human environment/' The mere change in wording is 
nothing. A change in aims and methods of working in that 
direction would mean more than any of us can estimate. Is 
there anything in the whole business of politics, economics, 
morals, education indeed in any prof ession save the construc- 
tion of a proper human environment that will serve, by its very 
existence, to produce sound and whole human beings, who 
in turn will maintain a sound and healthy human environment? 
This is the universal and all-embracing human task. In Intel- 
ligence in the Modern World ( ed. by J. Ratner ) . 

5. If we could look into the minds of our neighbors, I thmk 
we should not be much surprised to find in them quite fre- 
quently the notion that a man exists within the boundaries 
which are visible, tangible, and observable. In a woid, the 



man is identified with what is underneath his skin. We incline 
to suppose that we would know all about him if we could find 
out everything that is happening in his brain and other parts 
of his nervous system: in his glands, muscles, viscera, heart 
and lungs, and so on. Now up to a certain point we are on the 
right track, provided we emphasize sufficiently the interaction, 
the working together, of all these diverse processes. We can 
get a better idea of the unity of the human being as we know 
more about all these processes and the way they work together, 
as they check and stimulate one another and bring about a bal- 
ance. But the one positive point I wish to present is that while 
this is necessary it is not enough. We must observe and under- 
stand these internal processes and their interactions from the 
standpoint of their interaction with what is going on outside 
the skin with that which is called the environment if we are 
to obtain a genuine conception of the unity of the human being. 
Our attitude with respect to this matter is a strange mixture. 
In special points we take for granted the inclusion of the condi- 
tions and energies that are outside the boundaries set by the 
skin. No one supposes for a moment that there can be respira- 
tion without the surrounding air; or that the lungs are anything 
more than organs of interaction with what is outside the body. 
No one thinks of separating the processes of digestion from 
connection with foodstuffs derived by means of other organs 
from the environment. We know that eye, ear and hand, and 
somatic musculature, are concerned with objects and events 
outside the boundaries of the body. These things we take for 
granted so regularly and unconsciously that it seems foolish 
to mention them. . . . The strangeness of the mixture of which 
I spoke consists in the fact that while we recognize the involve- 
ment of conditions external to the body in all organic processes, 
when they are taken one by one, we often fail to recognize and 
act upon the idea as an inclusive principle by which to under- 
stand the unity of man. Ibi d. 



See also-. Experience 3, 7; Human Nature 1; Individuality 2; 
Life 2; Morality 1, 8; Moral Science; Teaching 3; Thinking 
14; World 3; Youth 1. 


Belief in equality is an element of the democratic credo. It 
is not, however, belief in equality of natural endowments, Those 
who proclaimed the idea of equality did not suppose they were 
enunciating a psychological doctrine, hut a legal and political 
one. All individuals are entitled to equality of treatment by law 
and its administration. Each one is affected equally in quality 
if not in quantity by the institutions under which he lives and 
has an equal right to express his judgment, although the weight 
of his judgment may not be equal in amount when it enters 
into the pooled result to that of others. In short, each one is 
equally an individual and entitled to equal opportunity of de- 
velopment of his own capacities, be they large or small in range. 
Moreover, each has needs of his own, as significant to him as 
those of others are to them. The very fact of natural and psy- 
chological inequality is all the more reason for establishment 
by law of equality of opportunity, since otherwise the former 
becomes a means of oppression of the less gifted Pro&Zms 
of Men. 

See also: Democracy 10. 


Man may be one form through which the course of evolution 
passes ; but that is all that he can be, What then ... is the sense 
of talking about the goal of the process of evolution being a 
goal for man, except that it be something in which he is ab- 
sorbed, swallowed up, forever lost?"Ethics and Physical Sci- 
ence/' in Andover Review, VII ( 1887 ) . 
See also: Self 4. 




Existence means existence for consciousness. "The Psycho- 
logical Standpoint," in the Mind, XI ( 1886 ) . 
See also: Cause and Effect 1; Discussion 2; Good and Evil 2; 
Reality 4. 


1. The nature of experience can be understood only by noting 
that it includes an active and a passive element peculiarly com- 
bined. On the active hand, experience is trying a meaning 
which is made explicit in the connected term experiment. On 
the passive, it is undergoing. When we experience something 
we act upon it, we do something with it; then we suffer or 
undergo the consequences. We do something to the thing and 
then it does something to us in return: such is the peculiar com- 
bination. The connection of these two phases of experience 
measures the fruitfulness or value of the experience. Mere activ- 
ity does not constitute experience. It is dispersive, centrifugal, 
dissipating. Experience as trying involves change, but change 
is meaningless transition unless it is consciously connected 
with the return wave of consequences which flow from it. 
When an activity is continued into the undergoing of conse- 
quences, when the change made by action is reflected back 
into a change made in us, the mere flux is loaded with signifi- 
cance. We learn something 

Blind and capricious impulses hurry us on heedlessly from 
one thing to another. So far as this happens, everything is writ 
in water. There is none of that cumulative growth which makes 
an experience in any vital sense of that term. On the other 
hand, many things happen to us in the way of pleasure and 
pain which we do not connect with any prior activity of our 
own. There is no before or after to such experience; no retro- 
spect nor outlook, and consequently no meaning. We get noth- 



ing which may be carried over to foresee what is likely to hap- 
pen next, and no gain in ability to adjust ourselves to what is 
coming no added control. Only by courtesy can such an experi- 
ence be called experience. To "learn from experience" is to 
make a backward and forward connection between what we do 
to things and what we enjoy or suffer from things in conse- 
quence. Under such conditions, doing becomes a trying; an 
experiment with the world to find out what it is like; the un- 
dergoing becomes instruction discovery of the connection of 
things. Democracy and Education. 

2. Where there is experience, there is a living being. In the 
Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude ( a Sym- 

3. In the orthodox view, experience is regarded primarily as 
a knowledge-affair. But to eyes not looking through ancient 
spectacles, it assuredly appears as an affair of the intercourse 
of a living being with its psychical and social environment 

4. Experience is of as well as in nature. It is not experience 
which is experienced, but nature stones, plants, animals, dis- 
eases, health, temperature, electricity, and so on. Things inter- 
acting in certain ways are experience; they are what is experi- 
enced. Linked in certain other ways with another natural ob- 
jectthe human organism they are how things are experienced 
as well. Experience and Nature. 

5. Experience cannot deliver to us necessary truths; truths 
completely demonstrated by reason. Its conclusions are particu- 
lar, not universal. The Quest for Certainty. 

6. Experience in the degree in which it is experience is height- 
ened vitality. Ant as Experience. 

7. Experience is a matter of the interaction of organism 
with its environment, an environment that is human as well as 
physical, that includes the materials of tradition and institutions 
as well as local surroundings. . . . Because every experience is 



constituted by interaction between "subject" and "object," be- 
tween a self and its world, it is not itself either merely physical 
nor merely mental, no matter how much one factor or the other 
predominates. Ibid. 

8. All direct experience is qualitative, and qualities are what 
make life experience itself directly precious. Ibid. 

9. I have held that experience is a matter or an "affair" of 
interaction of living creatures with their environment; human 
experience being what it is because human beings are subject 
to the influence of culture, including use of definite means of 
intercommunication, and are what in anthropological jargon 
are called acculturated organisms. Reply in the Philosophy of 
John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by P. A. Schilpp). 

See also: Abstraction 1; Art 3, 5; Communication; Conscious- 
ness 1; Curiosity; Education 5; Inference 4; Knowledge 1; 
Language 2, 4; Man 1; Memory; Objects 2; School 8; Self 
6; Society 2, 3. 


1. The experimental method . . . means that we have no 
right to call anything knowledge except where our activity 
actually produced certain physical changes in things, which 
agree with and confirm the conception entertained. Short of 
such specific changes, our beliefs are only hypotheses, theories, 
suggestions, guesses, and are to be entertained tentatively and 
to be utilized as indications of experiments to be tried. De- 
mocracy and Education. 

2. Experimental method is something other than the use of 
blow-pipes, retorts and reagents. It is the foe of every belief 
that permits habit and wont to dominate invention and dis- 
covery, and ready-made system to override verifiable fact. 
Constant revision is the work of experimental Hiquiry.--In- 
dividualism, Old and New. 



3. Experimental method is fatal to dogmatism because it 
shows that all ideas, conceptions, theories, however extensive 
and self-consistent and esthetically attractive they may be, 
are to be entertained provisionally until they have been tested 
by acting upon them. To state the fact in its full force, ideas 
prior to active test are intellectually significant only as guides 
and as plans of possible actions. The actions when under- 
taken produce consequences which test, expand, and modify 
the ideas previously tentatively entertained. The experimental 
method is thus opposed once and for all to all methods which 
claim to be sure-fire.In The Educational Frontier (a Sym- 
posium, ed. by W. H. Kilpatrick) . 

4. Experimental method is not just messing around nor 
doing a little of this and a little of that in the hope that 
things will improve. Just as in the physical sciences, it implies 
a coherent body of ideas, a theory, that gives direction to 
effort Problems of Men. 

See also: Liberalism 4; Scientific Method. 




1. Social facts are themselves natural facts. "Social as a 
Category" in The Monist, XXXVIII ( 1928) . 

2. The ideal of the knowledge dealing with physical facts is 
the elimination of all factors dependent upon distinctively 
human response. "First," physically speaking, is the ultimate 
residue after human purposes, desires, emotions, ideas and 
ideals have been systematically excluded. A social "fact/* on 
the other hand, is a concretion in external form of precisely 
these human factors. An occurrence is a physical fact only 
when its constituents and their relations remain the same, 
irrespective of the human attitude toward them. A species of 
mosquitoes is the carrier of the germs of malaria, whether we 
like or dislike malaria. Drainage and oil-spraying to destroy 
mosquitoes are a social fact because their use depends upon 
purpose and desire. A steam locomotive or a dynamo is a 
physical fact in its structure; it is a social fact when its exist- 
ence depends upon the desire for rapid and cheap transporta- 
tion and communication. The machine itself may be under- 
stood physically without reference to human aim and motive. 
But the railway or public-utility system cannot be under- 



stood without reference to human purposes and human con- 
sequences. -"Social Science and Social Control/' in The New 
Republic, LXVIl(imi). 

See also: Experimental Method 2; Hypotheses 3; Inference 2; 
Openmindedness 2; Science 4; Theory 4. 


1. Ours is the responsibility of conserving, transmitting, 
rectifying and expanding the heritage of values we have re- 
ceived that those who come after us may receive it more solid 
and secure, more widely accessible and more generously shared 
than we have received it. Here are all the elements for a 
religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race. 
Such a faith has always been implicitly the common faith of 
mankind. It remains to make it explicit and militant. -A 
Common Faith. 

2. Were we to admit that there is but one method for as- 
certaining fact and truth-that conveyed by the word "sci- 
entific" in its most general and generous sense no discovery 
in any branch of knowledge and inquiry could then disturb 
the faith that is religious, I should describe this faith as the 
unification of the self through allegiance to inclusive ideal 
ends, which imagination presents to us and to which the 
human will responds as worthy of controlling our desires and 
choices. Ibid. 

See also: Democracy 12; Doubt 2; Religion 9. 


Man is capable, if he will but exercise the required courage, 
intelligence and effort, of shaping his own fate. Physical con- 
ditions offer no unsurmountable barriers. Reconstruction in 




Dependence on force sooner or later calls out force on the 
other side. Problems of Men. 
See also: Value 1; War 2. 


1. Freedom is the "release of capacity from whatever hems 
it in." Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

2. We are free in the degree in which we act knowing 
what we are about. The identification of freedom with "free- 
dom of the will" locates contingency in the wrong place. The 
Quest for Certainty. 

3. We are free not because of what we statically are, but 
in so far as we are becoming different from what we have 
been. Philosophy and Civilization. 

4. Freedom is not something that can be handed to men 
as a gift from outside, whether by old-fashioned dynastic be- 
nevolent despotism or by new-fashioned dictatorship, whether 
of the proletarian or of the fascist order. It is something which 
can be had only as individuals participate in winning it, and 
this fact, rather than some particular political mechanism, is 
the essence of democratic hbeioiism. Liberalism and Social 

5. In ultimate analysis, freedom is important because it is 
a condition both of realization of the potentialities of an in- 
dividual and of social progress. Without light, a people per- 
ishes. Without freedom, light grows dim and darkness comes 
to reign. Without freedom, old truths become so stale and 
worn that they cease to be truths and become mere dictates 
of external authority. Without freedom, search for new truths 
and the disclosure of new paths in which humanity may walk 
more assuredly and justly come to an end. Freedom which 
is liberation for the individual, is the ultimate assurance of the 



movement of society toward more humane and noble ends. 
He who would put the freedom of others in bond, especially 
freedom of inquiry and communication, creates conditions 
which finally imperil his own freedom and that of his ofi- 
spring. Eternal vigilance is the price of the conservation and 
extension of freedom, and the schools should be the ceaseless 
guardians and creators of this vigilance.~"Academic Freedom," 
in Intelligence in the Modern World ( ed. by J. Ratner ) . 

6. What is freedom and why is it prized? Is desire for free- 
dom inherent in human nature or is it a product of special 
circumstances? Is it wanted as an end or as a means of get- 
ting other things? Does its possession entail responsibilities, 
and are these responsibilities so onerous that the mass of men 
will readily surrender liberty for the sake of greater ease? Is 
the struggle for liberty so arduous that most men are easily 
distracted from the endeavor to achieve and maintain it? Does 
freedom in itself and in the things it brings with it seem as 
important as security of livelihood; as food, shelter, clothing, 
or even as having a good time? Did man ever care as much 
for it as we in this country have been taught to believe? Is 
there any truth in the old notion that the driving force in 
political history has been the effort of the common man to 
achieve freedom? Was our own struggle for political inde- 
pendence in any genuine sense animated by desire for freedom, 
or were there a number of discomforts that our ancestors 
wanted to get rid of, things having nothing in common save 
that they were felt to be troublesome? Freedom and Culture. 

7. Men may be brought by long habit to hug their chains.- 

8. If we want individuals to be free we must see to it that 
suitable conditions exist Ibid. 

9. Everything that bars freedom and fullness of communi- 
cation sets up barriers that divide human beings into sets and 
cliques, into antagonistic sects and factions, and thereby 



undermines the democratic way of life. "Creative Democ- 
racy/' in The Philosopher of the Common Man: Essays in 
Honor of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by W. H. Kil- 

10. The democratic idea of freedom is not the right of 
each individual to do as he pleases, even if it be qualified by 
adding "provided he does not interfere with the same freedom 
on the part of others." While the idea is not always, not often 
enough, expressed in words, the basic freedom is that of free- 
dom of mind and of whatever degree of freedom of action 
and experience is necessary to produce freedom of intelli- 
gence. The modes of freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights 
are of this nature: Freedom of belief and conscience, of ex- 
pression of opinion, of assembly for discussion and confer- 
ence, of the press as an organ of communication. They are 
guaranteed because without them individuals are not free 
to develop and society is deprived of what they might con- 
tribute. Problems of Men. 
See also: Authority 1, 2; Democracy 1, 7. 


1. It has often been assumed that freedom of speech, oral 
or written, is independent of freedom of thought, and that you 
cannot take the latter away in any case, since it goes on in- 
side of minds where it cannot be got at. No idea could be 
more mistaken. ... If ideas when aroused cannot be commu- 
nicated, they either fade away or become warped and morbid, 
Philosophij and Civilization. 

2. We may felicitate ourselves that we live where free dis- 
cussion and free criticism are still values which are not denied 
us by some power reaching out for a monopoly of cultural and 
spiritual life. The inability of human beings in so many parts 
of the world to engage in free exchange of ideas should make 



us aware, by force of contrast, of the privilege we still enjoy 
and of our duty of defending and extending it. It should make 
us aware that free thought itself, free inquiry, is crippled and 
finally paralyzed by suppression of free communication. 

Such communication includes the right and responsibility 
of submitting every idea and every belief to severest criticism. 
It is less important that we all believe alike than that we all 
alike inquire freely and put at the disposal of one another 
such glimpses as we may obtain of the truth for which we 
are in search. Reply in The Philosophy of John Dewey (a 
Symposium, ed, by P. A. Schilpp). 
See also: Democracy 1; Freedom 10. 


In friendship ... the interests and modes of response of 
another become an expansion of our own being. We learn to 
see with his eyes^hear with his ears. Art as Experience. 


1. The Golden Age lies ahead of us, not behind us. Re- 
con&truction in Philosophy. 

2. The present activity is the only one really under con- 
trol. . . . Control of future living, such as it may turn out to be, 
is wholly dependent upon taking his present activity, seriously 
and devotedly, as an end, not as a means. And a man has his 
hands full in doing well what now needs to be done.-- Human 
Nature and Conduct. 

3. The future that is foreseen is a future that is sometime 
to be present. Ibid. 

4. To the being fully alive, the future is not ominous but 
a promise; it surrounds the present as a halo. It consists of pos- 



sibilities that are felt as a possession of what is now and 
here. Art as Experience. 

See also: Change; Desire 3; Education 2, 15; Growth 3; 
Philosophers 4; Science 2. 



The word "God/* on one score, can mean only a particular 
being. On the other score, it denotes the unity of all ideal 
ends arousing us to desire and actions. Does this unification 
have a claim upon our attitude and conduct because it is 
already, apart from us, in realized existence, or because of its 
own inherent meaning and value? Suppose for the moment 
that the word "God" means the ideal ends that at a given 
time and place one acknowledges as having authority over his 
volition and emotion, the values to which one is supremely 
devoted, as far as these ends, through imagination, take on 
unity. If we make this supposition, the issue will stand out 
clearly in contrast with the doctrine of religions that "God" 
designates some kind of Being having prior and therefore 
non-ideal existence. A Common Faith. 


1. Non-resistance to evil which takes the form of paying 
no attention to it is a way of promoting it Human Nature 
and Conduct. 

2. When we have used our thought to its utmost and have 
thrown into the moving unbalanced balance of things our puny 



strength, we know that though the universe slay us we may 
trust, for our lot is one with whatever is good in existence. We 
know that such thought and effort is one condition of the 
coming into existence of the better. The Philosophy of John 
Dewey (ed. by J. Ratner). 

3. In its relation to desire . . . the good is that which satisfies 
want, craving, which fulfills or makes complete the need which 
stirs to action. In its relation to thought, or as an idea of an 
object to be attained, it imposes upon those about to act the 
necessity for rational insight, or moral wisdom. For experience 
shows that not every satisfaction of appetite and craving turns 
out to be a good; many ends seem good while we are under the 
influence of strong passion, which in actual experience and in 
such thought as might have occurred in a cool moment are 
actually bad. The task of moral theory is thus to frame a 
theory of Good as the end or objective of desire, and also to 
frame a theory of the true, as distinct from the specious, good. 
-Ethics (with J. H. Tufts; revised ed.). 
See also: Ideals 3; Progress 3; Right 1, 2. 


No government by experts in which the masses do not have 
the chance to inform the experts as to their needs can be any- 
thing but an oligarchy managed in the interests of the few. 
The Public and Its Problems. 
See also: Democracy 3, 4, 8. 


1. The dominant vocation of all human beings at all times 
is living intellectual and moral growth. Democracy and Edu- 

2. Since growth is the characteristic of life, education is all 
one with growing; it has no end beyond itself. The criterion of 



the value of school education is the extent in which it creates 
a desire for continued growth and supplies means for making 
the desire effective in fact Ifctd. 

3. If education is growth, it must progressively realize pres- 
ent possibilities, and thus make individuals better fitted to 
cope with later requirements. Growing is not something which 
is complete in odd moments; it is a continuous leading into 
the future. If the environment, in school and out, supplies con- 
ditions which utilize adequately the present capacities of the 
immature, the future which grows out of the present is surely 
taken care of. Ibid. 

See also: Definition 1; Democracy 4; Education 10, 11, 12; En- 
vironment 3; Experience 1; Interest 2, 




1. Routine habits axe unthinking habits; "bad" habits are 
habits so severed from reason that they are opposed to the 
conclusions of conscious deliberation and decision. As we 
have seen, the acquiring of habits is due to an original plas- 
ticity of our natures: to our ability to vary responses till we 
find an appropriate and efficient way of acting. Routine habits, 
and habits that possess us instead of our possessing them, are 
habits which put an end to plasticity. They mark the close of 
power to vary. Democracy and Education, 

2. Men cannot easily throw off their old habits of thinking, 
and never can throw off all of them at once. Reconstruction 
in Philosophy. 

3. Habits are conditions of intellectual efficiency. They 
operate in two ways upon intellect. Obviously, they restrict its 
reach, they fix its boundaries. They are blinders that confine 
the eyes of mind to the road ahead. They prevent thought 
from straying away from its imminent occupation to a land- 
scape more varied and picturesque but irrelevant to practice. 
Outside the scope of habits, thought works gropingly, fum- 
bling in confused uncertainty; and yet habit made complete 
in routine shuts in thought so effectually that it is no longer 



needed or possible. The routineer s road is a ditch out of which 
he cannot get, whose sides enclose him, directing his course so 
thoroughly that he no longer thinks of his path or his destina- 
tion. All habit-forming involves the beginning of an intellec- 
tual specialization which if unchecked ends in thoughtless 
action.-Hwman Nature and Conduct. 

4. Habit is energy organized in certain channels.-Ifcid 

5. We cannot change habit directly: that notion is magic. 
But we can change it indirectly by modifying conditions, by 
an intelligent selecting and weighing of the objects which 
engage attention and which influence the fulfillment of desires. 

6. While it is admitted that the word habit has been used 
in a somewhat broader sense than is usual, we must protest 
against the tendency in psychological literature to limit its 
meaning to repetition. . . . Tendency to repeat acts is an in- 
cident of many habits but not of all. A man with the habit of 
giving way to anger may show his habit by a murderous attack 
upon some one who has offended. His act is nonetheless due to 
habit because it occurs only once in his life. The essence of 
habit is an acquired predisposition to ways or modes of re- 
sponse, not to particular acts except as, under special condi- 
tions, these express a way of behaving. Human Nature and 

See also: Character 2; Conscience; Education 13, 15; Experi- 
mental Method 2; Knowledge 7; Responsibility 2. 


1. Because all men want to be happy, it hardly follows that 
every man wants all to be happy. Outlines of a Critical Theory 
of Ethics. 

2. Suppose we drop the hedonistic emphasis upon states of 
pleasure and pain and substitute the wider, or vaguer, ideal of 



well-being, welfare, happiness, as the proper standard of 
approval.~~JErfwc,s (with J. H. Tufts; revised ed.). 
See also: Individual 1. 


1. It is difficult to avoid reading the past in terms of the 
contemporary scene. Liberalism and Social Action. 

2. All historical construction is necessarily selective. Logic: 
the Theory of Inquiry. 

3. As culture changes, the conceptions that are dominant in 
a culture change. . . . History is then rewritten.IfeicZ. 

See also: Freedom 6; Liberalism 4; Loyalty 2; Peace; Philoso- 
phers 4; Philosophy 4; Symbols 2. 


We are not the creators of heaven and earth; we have no 
responsibility for their operations save as their motions are 
altered by our movements. Our concern is with the significance 
of that slight fraction of total activity which starts from our- 
selves. The best laid plans of men as well as of mice gang 
aglee, and for the same reason: inability to dominate the 
future. The power of man and mouse is infinitely constricted 
in comparison with the power of events. Human Nature and 
See also: Culture 2. 


We who now live are parts of a humanity that extends itself 
into the remote past, a humanity that has interacted with 
nature. The things in civilization we most prize are not of 
ourselves. They exist by grace of the doings and sufferings of 



the continuous human community in which we are a link. 
A Common Faith. 

See also: Education 1; Freedom 5; Ideals 7. 


1. Circumstances may change, but human nature remains 
from age to age the same. Heredity is more potent than en- 
vironment, and human heredity is untouched by human intent. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. Everything which is distinctively human is learned, not 
native, even though it could not be learned without native 
structures which mark man off from other animals. T/ie Pub- 
lic and Its Problems. 

3. Any notion that human action is identical with that of 
nonliving things or with that of the "lower" animals is silly. It 
is contradicted by the fact that behavior is so organized in 
human beings as to have for its consequence all that we call 
civilization, culture, law, arts fine and industriallanguage, 
morals, institutions, science itself. And by its fruits we know 
it. Organic processes are thus seen to be the constituent means 
of a behavior which is endued with purpose and meaning, 
animate with affection, and informed by recollection and fore- 
sight. Philosophy and Civilization. 

4. Are contemporary political and economic institutions 
necessary products of human nature? Or, more generally, does 
the very constitution of human nature show that certain 
social arrangements are likely to be successful while others 
are doomed to failure? Is war, for example, inevitable because 
of facts of human nature? Is self-interest so ingrained in human 
nature that the attempt to base industry on anything except a 
competitive struggle for private gain is sure to fail? "Human 
Nature," in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, VII. 

5. The theory that human nature is unchangeable is the 



most depressing and pessimistic of all possible doctrines. If 
it were carried out logically, it would mean a doctrine of pre- 
destination from birth that would outdo the most rigid of 
theological doctrines. For according to it, persons are what 
they are at birth and nothing can be done about it, beyond the 
kind of training that an acrobat might give to the muscular 
system with which he is originally endowed. If a person is 
born with criminal tendencies, a criminal he will become and 
remain. If a person is born with an excessive amount of greed, 
he will become a person living by predatory activities at the 
expense of others; and so on. I do not doubt at all the existence 
of difEerences in natural endowment. But what I am question- 
ing is the notion that they doom individuals to a fixed channel 
of expression. It is difficult indeed to make a silk purse out of 
a sow's ear. But the particular form which, say, a natural 
musical endowment will take depends upon the social in- 
fluence to which he is subjected. Problems of Men. 

6. Human is as human does. Ibid. 
See also: Change; Civilization 5; Conservatism 4; Culture 3, 

4; Democracy 12; Freedom 6; Law 2; Morality 4; Moral 

Science; Religion 2; War 1; Work. 


1. Hypotheses are fruitful when they are suggested by actual 
need, are bulwarked by knowledge already attained, and are 
tested by the consequences of the operations they evoke. . . . 
Otherwise imagination is dissipated into fantasies and rises 
vaporously into the clouds. The Quest for Certainty. 

2. It is notorious that a hypothesis does not have to be true 
in order to be highly serviceable in the conduct of inquiry. 
Logic: the Theory of Inquiry. 

3. The primary value of hypotheses and theories is found in 
their power to direct observation in discovery of newly ob- 



served facts and in their power to organize facts in such a way 
as to forward the solution of a prbbfem.^^.JVVhat a scientist 
asks of his hypotheses is that they be fruitful InTgiving direc- 
tion to his observations and reasonings. Confrontation with an 
observed fact which does not square with an hypothesis is 
consequently just as welcome as one which doessince it 
enables him to introduce modifications into his idea that 
renders the latter more efficient in future conduct of inquiry. 
Whereas if a liar is confronted with something which con- 
tradicts what he says, there is one hundred per cent nullifica- 
tion of what he has said, with no opportunity allowed for 
additional development because of the negative confrontation 
that has occurred, In science, discovery of an exception, of a 
fact that contradicts a theory in the form in which it has been 
previously held, is a positive means of advance. It is not only 
welcome when hit upon but is actively searched for. Reply 
in The Philosophy of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by P. A. 

See also: Belief 1; Doubt 2; Experimental Method; Ideas 4; 



1. Ideals are held up to follow; standards are given to work 
by; laws are provided to guide action. ... If they cannot do 
this, not merely by accident, but of their own intrinsic nature, 
they are worse than inert. Educational Essays (ed. by J. J. 

2. If philosophers could aid in making it clear to a troubled 
humanity that ideals are continuous with natural events, that 
they but represent their possibilities, and that recognized pos- 
sibilities form methods for a conduct which may realize them 
in fact, philosophers would enforce the sense of a social calling 
and responsibility. Essays in Experimental Logic. 

3. Every ideal . . . projects in securer and wider and fuller 
form some good which has been previously experienced in a 
precarious, accidental, fleeting way. Human Nature and Con- 

4. The ideal is itself the product of discontent with condi- 
tions, Ibid, 

5. Since the ideal ends are so remotely and accidentally con- 
nected with immediate and urgent conditions that need atten- 
tion, after lip service is given to them, men naturally devote 
themselves to the latter. If a bird in the hand is worth two in 



a neighboring bush, an actuality in hand is worth, for the 
direction of conduct, many ideals that are so remote as to be 
invisible and inaccessible. Men hoist the banner of the ideal, 
and then march in the direction that concrete conditions sug- 
gest and reward. The Quest for Certainty. 

6. Not all who say, Ideals, Ideals, shall enter the kingdom of 
ideal, but only those shall enter who know and who respect 
the roads that conduct to the kingdom. Characters and 

7. Ideals change as they are applied in existent conditions. 
The process endures and advances with the life of humanity. 
What one person and one group accomplish becomes the 
standing ground and starting point of those who succeed 
them. A Common Faith. 

See also: Faith 2; God; Machine 2; Possibility 2; Religion 2, 
9; Theory 4; Thinking 12. 


1. Ideas are not genuine ideas unless they are tools with 
which to search for material to solve a problem. How We 

2. Take away ideas and what follows from them, and man 
seems no better than the beasts of the fidA-T/ie Quest for 

3. The test of ideas, of thinking generally, is found in the 
consequences of the acts to which the ideas lead, that is in the 
new arrangements of things which are brought into existence. 

4. Ideas are only tentative or working hypotheses until they 
are modified, rejected or confirmed by the consequences pro- 
duced by acting upon them. "Logic," in the Encyclopedia of 
the Social Sciences, IX. 



See also: Abstraction 3; Action 2; Discussion 1; Experimental 
Method 3, 4; Ignorance; Philosophy 5; Society 3; Words 


Genuine ignorance is ... profitable because it is likely to be 
accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness; 
whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar 
propositions, gives conceit of learning and coats the mind with 
a varnish waterproof to new ideas. How We Think. 
See also: School 6. 


1. Any given individual is naturally an erratic mixture of 
fierce insistence upon his own welfare and of profound sus- 
ceptibility to the happiness of othersdifferent individuals 
varying much in the respective intensities and proportions of 
the two tendencies. Ethics (with J. H. Tufts). 

2. The cause of modern civilization stands and falls with 
the ability of the individual to serve as its agent and bearer. 
The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays. 

3. Society is individuals-in-their-relations. An individual 
apart from social relations is a myth or monstrosity. In The 
Educational Frontier (with J. L. Childs; a Symposium, ed. by 
W. H.Kilpatrick). 

See also: Authority 2; Democracy 2, 3, 7; Education 1, 6; In- 
teraction 2; Liberalism 2; Liberty 5; Religion 2; Security 
2; State 4. 


1. Individuality is not originally given but is created under 
the influence of associated life Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

2. Individuality in a social and moral sense is something to 



be wrought out. It means initiative, inventiveness, varied re- 
sourcefulness, assumption of responsibility in choice of belief 
and conduct. These are not gifts but achievements. As achieve- 
ments, they are not absolute, but relative to the use that is 
made of them. And this use varies with the environment. Ibid, 
See also: Creative Work 1; Culture 4; Education 15; Liberal- 
ism 4; Loyalty 2; Pluralism. 


1. In every case of reflective activity, a person finds himself 
confronted with a given, present situation from which he has 
to arrive at, or conclude to, something else that is not present. 
This process of arriving at an idea of what is absent on the basis 
of what is at hand is inference. What is present carries or bears 
the mind over to the idea and ultimately the acceptance of 
something else. . . Every inference, just because it goes beyond 
ascertained and known facts, which are given either by ob- 
servation or by recollection of prior knowledge, involves a jump 
from the known to the unknown. How? We Think. 

2. It is the rare mind that can get relations or draw conclu- 
sions from simply hearing facts. Most people must see and 
handle things before they can tell how these things will behave 
and what their meaning is.~Schools of To-Morrow ( with Evelyn 

3. Inference is the advance into the unknown, the use of 
established to win the new worlds from the void. Essays in 
Experimental Logic. 

4. Experience taken free of the restrictions imposed by the 
older concept, is full of inference. There is, apparently, no con- 
scious experience without inference; reflection is native and 
constant In the Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Prag- 
matic Attitude (a Symposium). 

See also: Thinking 11. 




1. The existence of inquiries is not a matter of doubt. They 
enter into every area of life and into every aspect of every area. 
In everyday living men examine; they turn things over intellec- 
tually; they infer and judge as "naturally" as they reap and sow, 
produce and exchange commodities. As a mode of conduct, in- 
quiry is as accessible to objective study as are these other modes 
of behavior. Logic; the Theory of Inquiry. 

2. To see that a situation requires inquiry is the initial step 
in inquiry. Ibid. 

3. Inquiry is the controlled or directed transformation of an 
indeterminate situation into one that is so determinate in its 
constituent distinctions and relations as to convert the elements 
of the original situation into a unified whole. Ibid. 

See also: Belief 3; Doubt 2; Pragmatism 2; Science 4, 8; Teach- 
ing 5; Truth 4. 


One can be insane without knowing he is insane and one may 
know insanity without being crazy; indeed absence of the direct 
experience is said to be an indispensable condition of study of 
insanity, Experience and Nature. 
See also: Power 1; Reality 2. 


1. Intelligence becomes ours in the degree in which we use it 
and accept responsibility for consequences. Human Nature 
and Conduct. 

2. Intelligence converts desire into plans. Ibid. 

3. While what we call intelligence be distributed in unequal 
amounts, it is the democratic faith that it is sufficiently general 
so that each individual has something to contribute, whose 
value can be assessed only as it enters into the final pooled in- 



telligence constituted by the contributions of SiSL-Problems of 

See also i Aims and Purposes 1; Democracy 12; Knowledge 3; 
Liberal Education; Liberalism 2; Mistakes; Problems 1; 
Reason 1; School 2; Theory 3; Understanding 2. 


1. Nothing in the universe, not even physical things, exist 
apart from some form of association; there is nothing from the 
atom to man which is not involved in conjoint action. Planets 
exist and act in solar systems, and these systems are galaxies. 
Plants and animals exist and act in conditions of much more 
intimate and complete interaction and interdependence. Human 
beings are generated only by union of individuals; the human 
infant is so feeble in his powers as to be dependent upon the 
care and protection of others; he cannot grow up without the 
.help given by others; his mind is nourished by contact with 
others and by intercommunication; as soon as the individual 
graduates from family life he finds himself taken into other 
associations, neighborhood, school, village, professional or busi- 
ness associates. Apart from the ties which bind him to others, 
he is nothing. Even the hermit and Robinson Crusoe, as far as 
they live on a plane higher than that of the brutes, continue 
even in physical isolation to be what they are, to think the 
thoughts which go through their minds, to entertain their char- 
acteristic aspirations, because of social connections which ex- 
isted in the past and which still persist in their imagination and 
emotions. Ethics (with J. H. Tufts; revised ed.). 

2. Individuals are interdependent. No one is born except in 
dependence on others. Without aid and nurture from others, he 
would miserably perish. The material of his intellectual sub- 
sistence, as well as of his physical, comes to him from others. 
As he matures, he becomes more physically and economically 



independent; but he can carry on his calling only through co- 
operation and competition with others; he has needs which are 
satisfied only through exchange of services and commodities. 
His recreations as well as his achievements are dependent upon 
sharing with others. The idea that individuals are born separate 
and isolated and are brought into society only through some 
artificial device is a pure myth, Social ties and connections are 
as natural and inevitable as are physical. Even when a person 
is alone he thinks with language that is derived from associ- 
ation with others, and thinks about questions and issues that 
have been born in intercourse. Independence of character and 
judgment is to be prized. But it is an independence which does 
not signify separateness; it is something displayed in relation to 
others. There is no one, for example, of whom independent in- 
quiry, reflection, and insight are more characteristic than the 
genuine scientific and philosophic thinker. But his independ- 
ence is a futile eccentricity unless he thinks upon problems 
which have originated in a long tradition, and unless he intends 
to share his conclusions with others, so as to win their assent or 
elicit their corrections. Such facts are familiar and common- 
place. Their meaning is not always so definitely recognized 
namely, that the human being is an individual because of and 
in relations with others. Ibid. 

3. Society has become in fact corporate. Its interests and 
activities are so tied together that human beings have become 
dependent upon one another, for good or for harm, to an un- 
precedented degree. This is a statement of fact, whether the 
fact be welcomed or deplored. This interdependence is in- 
creasing, not lessening. It must be taken into account by educa- 
tion. We must not only educate individuals to live in a world 
where social conditions beyond the reach of any one individual 
will affect his security, his work, his achievements, but we must 
take account of the total incapacity of the doctrine of competi- 



tive individualism to work anything but harm in the state of 
interdependence in which we live. . . 

The interdependence spoken of has developed on a world- 
wide scale, Isolated and excessive nationalism renders inter- 
national interdependence, now existing as a fact, a source of 
fear, suspicion, antagonism, potential war. In order that inter- 
dependence may become a benefit instead of a dread evil and 
possible world-wide catastrophe, education must revise the 
conception of patriotism and good citizenship so that it will 
accord with the imperative demands of world-wide association 
and interaction.-In The Educational Frontier (with J. L. 
Childs; a Symposium, ed, by W. H. Kilpatrick). 

4. Physical interdependence has increased beyond anything 
that could have been foreseen. . , The career of individuals, 
their lives and security as well as prosperity, is now affected by 
events on the other side of the world. The forces back of these 
events he cannot touch or influence-save perhaps by joining 
in a war of nations against nations. For we seem to live in a 
world in which nations try to deal with the problems created 
by the new situation by drawing more and more into them- 
selves, by more and more extreme assertions of independent 
nationalist sovereignty, while everything they do in the direc- 
tion of autarchy leads to ever closer mixture with other nations 
but in war. . . The necessity of transforming physical inter- 
dependence into moral into human interdependence is part 
of the democratic problem. Freedom and Culture. 
See also: Conduct; Culture 1, 3; Dreams 2; Environment 3, 5; 
Experience 7; Law of Nature 4; Life 2; Morality 1; Order. 


1. When things have to be made interesting it is because in- 
terest itself is wanting.-lnterest as Related to Will," in the 
Second Supplement to the Herbart Hear Book for 1895. 



2. Interest is normal and reliance upon it educationally legiti- 
mate in the degree in which the activity in question involves 
growth or development. Interest is illegitimate used in the de- 
gree in which it is either a symptom or a cause of arrested 
development in an activity. Interest and Effort in Education. 
See also: Democracy 3; Methods of Instruction 1; Peace; So- 
ciety 2; Teaching 4, 5. 


1. The situation that exists among nations in their relations 
to one another is such that it tempts even those who ordinarily 
come far short of cynicism to say that there is no connection 
between ethics and international relations. Characters and 

2. Until nations are bound together by the law of a social 
order, there cannot be any truly moral obligations existing 
among them. Ibid., II. 




1. The judgment when formed is a decision. How We Think. 

2. A man of good judgment in a given set of affairs is a man 
in so far educated, trained, whatever may be his literacy. And 
if our schools turn out their pupils in that attitude of mind 
which is conducive to good judgment in any department of 
affairs in which the pupils are placed, they have done more 
than if they sent out their pupils merely possessed of vast stores 
of information, or high degrees of skill in specialized branches. 

See also i Criticism; Interaction 2; Thinking 11; Value 2, 5. 


Justice is a privilege which falls to a man as belonging to 
some groupnot otherwise. The member of the clan or the 
household or the village community has a claim, but the stranger 
has no standing. He may be treated kindly, as a guest, but he 
cannot demand "justice" at the hands of any group but his own. 
Ethics ( with J. H. Tufts ) . 
See also: War 2. 




1. Knowledge implies reference to the self or mind. Knowing 
is an intellectual process, involving psychical laws. It is an ac- 
tivity which the self experiences. A certain individual activity 
has been accordingly presupposed in all the universal facts of 
physical science. These facts are all facts known by some mind, 
and hence fall, in some way, within the sphere of psychology. 
This science is accordingly something more than one science 
by the side of others; it is a central science, for its subject- 
matter, knowledge, is involved in them all. Psychology. 

2. To find out how to make knowledge when it is needed is 
the true end of the acquisition of information in school, not 
the information itself. Schools of To-Morroto (with Evelyn 

3. Information severed from thoughtful action is dead, a 
mind-crushing load. Since it simulates knowledge and thereby 
develops the poison of conceit, it is a most powerful obstacle 
to further growth in the grace of intelligence. Democracy and 



4. Knowledge is always a matter of the use that is made of 
experienced natural events. In the Creative Intelligence: Es- 
says in the Pragmatic Attitude (a Symposium). 

5. Knowledge is not something separate and self-sufficient, 
but is involved in the process in which life is sustained and 
evolved. The senses lose their place as gateways of knowing to 
take their rightful place as stimuli to action. To an animal an 
affection of the eye or ear is not an idle piece of information 
about something indifferently going on in the world. It is an 
invitation and inducement to act in a needed way. It is a clue 
in behavior, a directive factor in adaptation of life in its sur- 
roundings. It is urgent, not cognitive in quality. Reconstruc- 
tion in Philosophy. 

6. Knowledge is power and knowledge is achieved by send- 
ing the mind to school of nature to learn her processes of 
change. Ibid. 

7. The reason a baby can know little and an experienced 
adult much when confronting the same things is not because 
the latter has a "mind" which the former has not, but because 
one has already formed habits which the other has still to 
acquire. The scientific man and the philosopher like the car- 
penter, the physician and politician know with their habits, not 
with their "consciousness." Human Nature and Conduct. 

8. Of course there has been an enormous increase in the 
amount of knowledge possessed by mankind, but it does not 
equal probably the increase in the amount of errors and half- 
truths which have got into circulation. The Public and Its 

9. Knowledge falters when imagination clips its wings or 
fears to use them. Every great advance in science has issued 
from a new audacity of imagination. The Quest for Certainty. 

10. Knowledge is a mode of practical action. Ibid. 

11. Acknowledgment that we do not know what we do not 



know is a necessity of all intellectual integrity. A Common 


See also: Democracy 11; Experimental Method 1; Facts 2; Free- 
dom 2; Hypotheses 1; Inference 1; Liberal Education; Ma- 
chine 1; Mind 7; Open-mindedness 3; Philosophy 7; Pos- 
sibility 1, 2; Thinking 3; Understanding 5; Wisdom 2. 




Labor means a form of work in which the direct result ac- 
complished is of value only as a means of exchange for some- 
thing else. It is an economic term, being applied to that form 
of work where the product is paid for, and the money paid is 
used for objects of more direct values. Interest and Effort in 

See also: Economics; Production and Consumption 1, 2. 


1. Language includes much more than oral and written 
speech, gestures, pictures, monuments, visual images, finger 
movements anything consciously employed as a sign is, logi- 
cally, language. Hou? We Think. 

2. All language, all symbols, are implements of an indirect 
experience; in technical language the experience which is pro- 
cured by their means is "mediated." It stands in contrast with 
an immediate, direct experience, something in which we take 
part vitally and at first hand, instead of through the interven- 
tion of representative media. . . Direct experience is very 
limited. If it were not for the intervention of agencies for 


LAW __ 

representing absent and distant affairs, our experience would 
remain almost on the level of that of the brutes. Every step 
from savagery to civilization is dependent upon the invention 
of media which enlarge the range of purely immediate ex- 
perience. Democracy and Education. 

3. Language exists only when it is listened to as well as 
spoken. The hearer is an indispensable partner. Arf as Ex- 

4. Language comes infinitely short of paralleling the varie- 
gated surface of nature. Yet words as practical devices are the 
agencies by which the ineffable diversity of natural existence 
as it operates in human experience is reduced to orders, ranks, 
and classes that can be managed. Not only is it impossible that 
language should duplicate the infinite variety of individualized 
qualities that exist, but it is wholly undesirable and unneeded 
that it should do so. The unique quality of a quality is found 
in experience itself; it is there and sufficiently there not to need 
reduplication in language. The latter serves its scientific or its 
intellectual purpose as it gives directions as to how to come 
upon these qualities in experience. The more generalized and 
simple the direction the better. Ibid. 

See also: Ait 2; Children 2; Interaction 2; Mathematics 3; Mind 
1; Speech 2. 


1. Now it is true that . . . laws are made by man rather than 
that man is made for them. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

2. Law is one of the most conservative of human institutions; 
yet through the cumulative effect of legislation and judicial de- 
cisions it changes, sometimes at a slow rate, sometimes rapidly. 
The changes in human relations that are brought about by 
changes in industrial and legal institutions then react to modify 
the ways in which human nature manifests itself, and this 



brings about still further changes in institutions, and so on 

indefinitely. Problems of Men. 

See also: Judgment; Ideals 1; International Relations 2. 


1. The notion that laws govern and forces rule is an animistic 
survival. It is a product of reading nature in terms of politics 
in order to turn around and then read politics in the light of 
supposed sanctions of nature. The Influence of Darwin on 
Philosophy and Other Essays. 

2. The notion of law changes. It is no longer something gov- 
erning things and events from on high; it is the statement of 
their own order. Essays in Experimental Logic. 

3. The idea of a universal reign of law, based on properties 
immutably inhering in things and of such a nature as to be 
capable of exact mathematical statement, was a sublime idea. 
It displaced once for all the notion of a world in which the un- 
accountable and the mysterious have the first and last word, 
a world in which they constantly insert themselves. It estab- 
lished the ideal of regularity and uniformity in place of the 
casual and sporadic. It gave men inspiration and guidance in 
seeking for uniformities and constancies where only irregular 
diversity was experienced. The ideal extended itself from the 
inanimate world to the animate and then to social affairs. It 
became, it may fairly be said, the great article of faith in the 
creed of scientific men. The Quest for Certainty. 

4. Laws are inherently conceptual in character, as is shown 
in the fact that either position or velocity may be fixed at will. 
To call them conceptual is not to say that they are merely 
"mental" or arbitrary. It is to say that they are relations which 
are thought, not observed. The subject-matter of the concep- 
tions which constitute laws is not arbitrary, for it is determined 
by the interactions of what exists. Ibid. 



5, The aim of science is law. A law is adequate in the degree 
in which it takes the form, if not of an equation, at least of form- 
ulation of constancy, of relationship, or order. It is clear that 
any law, whether stated as formulation of order or as an equa- 
tion, conveys, in and of itself, not an individualized reality, but 
a certain connection of conditions. ProWems of Men. 
See also: Nature 1. 


The world has suffered more from leaders and authorities 
than from the masses. The Public and Its Problems. 
See also: Democracy 10. 


1. The first years of learning proceed rapidly and securely 
before children go to school, because that learning is so closely 
related with the motives that are furnished by their own powers 
and the needs that are dictated by their own conditions. . . If 
we want, then, to find out how education takes place most suc- 
cessfully, let us go to the experiences of children where learning 
is a necessity, and not to the practices of the schools where it 
is largely an adornment, a superfluity and even an unwelcome 
imposition. Schools of To-Morrow (with Evelyn Dewey). 

2. As civilization advances, the gap between the capacities 
of the young and the concerns of adults widens. Learning by 
direct sharing in the pursuits of adults becomes increasingly 
difficult. Intentional agencies schools and explicit materials 
studies are devised. The task of teaching certain things is 
delegated to a special group of persons. Democracy and Edu- 

See also: Methods of Instruction 2; School 4, 8; Teaching 3, 4; 
Thinking 10. 




The rigid identification of work with material interests and 
leisure with ideal interests is itself a social product-Democracy 
and Education. 

See also: Production and Consumption 2; Theory 2; Work 2. 


Liberal education aims to train intelligence for its proper 
office: to know. Democracy and Education. 


1. The slogans of the liberalism of one period often become 
the bulwarks of reaction in a subsequent em-Philosophy and 

2. Liberalism is committed to an end that is at once enduring 
and flexible: the liberation of individuals so that realization of 
their capacities may be the law of their life. . . Liberalism has 
to assume the responsibility for making it clear that intelligence 
is a social asset and is clothed with a function as public as is 
its origin, in the concrete, in social cooperation. Liberalism 
and Social Action. 

3. The meaning of liberalism has undergone many changes 
since the word came into vogue not very much more than a 
century ago. The word came into use to denote a new spirit 
that grew and spread with the rise of democracy. It implied a 
new interest in the common man and a new sense that the 
common man, the representative of the great masses of human 
beings, had possibilities that had been kept under, that had 
not been allowed to develop, because of institutional and politi- 
cal conditions. This new spirit was liberal in both senses of the 
word. It was marked by a generous attitude, by sympathy for 
the underdog, for those who were not given a chance. It was 
part of a wide-spread rise of humanitarian philanthropy. It was 



also liberal in that it aimed at enlarging the scope of free action 
on the part of those who for ages had had no part in public 
affairs and no lot in the benefits secured by this participation. 
Problems of Men. 

4. Liberalism knows that an individual is nothing fixed, giv- 
en, ready-made. It is something achieved, and achieved not in 
isolation, but with the aid and support of conditions, cultural 
and physical, including "cultural" economic, legal and political 
institutions as well as science and art. Liberalism knows that 
social conditions may restrict, distort and almost prevent the 
development of individuality. It therefore takes an active in- 
terest in the working of social institutions that have a bearing, 
positive or negative, upon the growth of individuals who shall 
be rugged in fact and not merely in abstract theory. It is as 
much interested in the positive construction of favorable insti- 
tutions, legal, political and economic, as it is in the work of 
removing abuses and overt oppressions. 

In the second place, liberalism is committed to the idea of 
historic relativity. It knows that the content of the individual 
and freedom change with time; that this is as true of social 
change as it is of individual development from infancy to 
maturity. The positive counterpart of opposition to doctrinal 
absolutism is experimentalism. The connection between historic 
relativity and experimental method is intrinsic. Time signifies 
change. The significance of individuality with respect to social 
policies alters with change of the conditions in which individuals 
live. . . 

The commitment of liberalism to experimental procedure 
carries with it the idea of continuous reconstruction of the ideas 
of individuality and of liberty in intimate connection with 
changes in social relations. It is enough to refer to the changes 
in productivity and distribution since the time when the earlier 
liberalism was formulated, and the effect of these transforma- 
tions, due to science and technology, upon the terms on which 



men associate together. An experimental method is the recogni- 
tion of this temporal change in ideas and policies so that the 
latter shall coordinate with the facts instead of being opposed 

i o JrJr 

to them. . . 

The two things essential, then, to thorough-going social lib- 
eralism are, first, realistic study of existing conditions in their 
movement, and, secondly, leading ideas, in the form of policies 
for dealing with these conditions in the interest of development 
of increased individuality and liberty. Ifeid. 
See also: Freedom 4. 


1. Liberty is tolerated as long as it does not seem to menace 
in any way the status quo of society. Liberalism and Social 

2. Liberty is not just an idea, an abstract principle, It is 
power, effective power to do specific things. "Liberty and 
Social Control/' in the Social Frontier, II (1935). 

3. Will men surrender their liberties if they believe that by 
so doing they will obtain the satisfaction that comes from a 
sense of fusion with others and that respect by others which is 
the product of the strength furnished by solidoiity? Freedom 
and Culture. 

4. There is no such thing as liberty in general; liberty, so to 
speak, at large. If one wants to know what the condition of 
liberty is at a given time, one has to examine what persons can 
do and what they cannot do. The moment one examines the 
question from the standpoint of effective action, it becomes 
evident that the demand for liberty is a demand for power, 
either for possession of powers of action not already possessed 
or for retention and expansion of powers already possessed. 
Problems of Men. 



5. Liberty is a social matter and not just a claim of the private 
individual. Ibid. 
See also: Freedom 6; Right 3; Security 2; War 2. 


1. Empirically speaking, the most obvious difference between 
living and non-living things is that the activities of the former 
are characterized by needs, by efforts which are active demands 
to satisfy needs, and by satisfactions. Experience and Nature. 

2. Life goes on in an environment; not merely in it but be- 
cause of it, through interaction with it. No creature lives merely 
under the skin; its subcutaneous organs are means of connec- 
tion with what lies beyond its bodily frame, and to which, in 
order to live, it must adjust itself, by accommodation and de- 
fense but also by conquest. At every moment, the living creature 
is exposed to dangers from its surroundings, and at every mo- 
ment, it must draw upon something in its surroundings to 
satisfy its needs. The career and destiny of a living being are 
bound up with its interchanges with its environment, not ex- 
ternally but in the most intimate way. Art as Experience. 

3. The means by which we make a living should be trans- 
formed into ways of making a life that is worth the living. 
Reply in The Philosophy of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by 

4. No form of life does or can stand still; it either goes for- 
ward or it goes backward, and the end of the backward road is 
death, Problems of Men. 

See also: Education 2; Environment 3; Experience 2; Growth 
1; Knowledge 5; Society 1. 


1. Logic is both a science and an art; a science so far as it 
gives an organized and tested descriptive account of the way 



in which thought actually goes on; an art, so far as on the basis 
of this description it projects methods by which future thinking 
shall take advantage of the operations that lead to success and 
avoid those which result in kilwce.'-Reconstruction in Philoso- 

2. Man is not logical and his intellectual history is a record 
of mental reserves and compromises. He hangs on to what he 
can in his old beliefs even when he is compelled to surrender 
their logical basis. H uman Nature and Conduct. 
See also i Mathematics 2; Philosophy 8; Possibility 2. 


1. Loyalty to whatever in the established environment makes 
a life of excellence possible is the beginning of all progress. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. The loyalties which once held individuals, which gave 
them support, direction, and unity of outlook on life, have well- 
nigh disappeared. In consequence, individuals are confused 
and bewildered. It would be difficult to find in history an epoch 
as lacking as is the present. Stability of individuality is depend- 
ent upon stable objects to which allegiance firmly attaches it- 
self .Individualism, Old and New. 




1. Machines depend in their action upon complicated facts 
and principles of nature which are not recognized by the worker 
unless he has had special intellectual training. The machine 
worker, unlike the older hand worker, is following blindly the 
intelligence of others instead of his own knowledge of materials, 
tools, and processes. Schools of To-Morrow (with Evelyn 

2. A machine age is a challenge to generate new conceptions 
of the ideal and the spiritual. Individualism, Old and New. 

3. Machinery means an undreamed-of reservoir of power. 
If we have harnessed this power to the dollar rather than to 
the liberation and enrichment of human life, it is because we 
have been content to stay within the bounds of traditional aims 
and values.- Ibid. 

See also: Facts 2; World 2. 


1. Man differs from the lower animals because he preserves 
his past experience. What happens in the past is lived again in 
memory. About what goes on today hangs a cloud of thoughts 
concerning similar things undergone in bygone days. With the 



animals, an experience perishes as it happens, and each new 
doing or suffering stands alone. But man lives in a world where 
each occurrence is charged with echoes and reminiscences of 
what has gone before, where each event is a reminder of other 
things. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

2. Man, a child in understanding of himself, has placed in 
his hands physical tools of incalculable power. He plays with 
them like a child, The Public and Its Problems. 

3. While man is other than bird and beast, he shares basic 
vital functions with them and has to make the same basal ad- 
justments if he is to continue the process of living. Having the 
same vital needs, man derives the means by which he breathes, 
moves, looks and listens, the very brain with which he coordi- 
nates his senses and his movements, from his animal forbears. 
The organs with which he maintains himself in being are not 
of himself alone, but by grace of struggles and achievements 
of a long line of animal ancestry. Art as Experience. 

See also: Environment 5; Evolution; Law 1; State 1. 


Manners are but minor morals. Democracy and Education. 


1. Mathematical ideas are indispensable instruments of phys- 
ical research, and no account of the method of the latter is 
complete that does not take into account the applicability of 
mathematical conceptions to natural existence. XTie Quest for 

2. Within mathematical science, symbols are individual ob- 
jects of just the same logical nature as are metals and acids in 
chemistry and as are rocks and fossils in geology. Problems of 

3. Mathematics is a highly developed language; like lan- 
guage, it is fruitfully applicable in our dealings with the world, 



but no more than any other language is it a part of that world 
save as man himself is part of it. In the Humanist, VII. 
See also: Law of Nature 3; Matter 3; Nature 1; Objects 2. 


1. The notion of matter actually found in the practice of 
science has nothing in common with the matter of materialists. 
Experience and Nature. 

2. I fail to see what meaning "matter" and "materialism" 
have for philosophy. Matter has a definite assignable meaning 
in physical science. It designates something capable of being 
expressed in mathematical symbols which are distinguished 
from those defining energy. It is not possible to generalize the 
definite meaning "matter" has in this context of physical science 
into a philosophical view which materialism most definitely 
is. Reply in The Philosophy of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. 
by P. A. Schilpp). 

3. "Matter" has in modern science none of the low, base, inert 
properties assigned to it in classic Greek and medieval philoso- 
phy, properties that were the ground for setting it in stark op- 
position to all that is higher. . . It would be difficult to find a 
greater distance between any two terms than that which sepa- 
rates "matter" in the Greek-medieval tradition and the technical 
signification, suitably expressed in mathematical symbols, that 
the word bears in science today. "Antinaturalism in Extremis," 
in Naturalism and the Human Spirit ( a Symposium, ed. by Y. 
H. Krikorian). 


Memory is vicarious experience in which there is all the emo- 
tional value of actual experience without its strains, vicissitudes 
and troubles. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 
See also: Man 1. 




1. The question of method is ultimately reducible to the ques- 
tion of order or development of the child's powers and interests, 
My Pedagogic Creed. 

2. Existing methods of instruction give plenty of evidence in 
support of a belief that minds are opposed to learning to their 
own exercise. We fail to see that such aversion is in reality a 
condemnation of our methods; a sign that we are presenting 
material for which the mind in its existing state of growth has 
no need, or else presenting it in such ways as to cover up the 
real need.-Sc/iooZs of To-M arrow (with Evelyn Dewey). 
See also: School 2. 


1. Mind has not remained a passive spectator of the universe, 
but has produced and is producing certain results. These results 
are objective, can be studied as all objective historical facts may 
be, and are permanent. They are the most fixed, certain, and 
universal signs to us of the way in which mind works. Such 
objective manifestations of mind are, in the realm of intelli- 
gence, phenomena like language and science; in that of will, 
social and political institutions; in that of feeling, art; in that of 
the whole self, religion. Psychology. 

2. I am not aware of any so-called merely "mental" activity or 
result that cannot be described in the objective terms of organic 
activity modified and directed by symbols-meaning, or lan- 
guage, in its broad sense. How) We Think. 

3. Mind denotes the whole system of meanings as they are 
embodied in the workings of organic life; consciousness in a 
being with language denotes awareness or perception of mean- 
ings; it is the perception of actual events, whether past, con- 
temporary, or future, in their meanings, the having of actual 
ideas. The greater part of mind is only implicit in any con- 



scious act or stare; the field of mind of operative meanings- 
is enormously wider titan that of consciousness. Mind is con- 
textual and persistent; consciousness is focal and transitive. 
Mind is, so to speak, structural, substantial; a constant back- 
ground and foreground; perceptive consciousness is process, a 
series of heres and nows. Mind is a constant luminosity; con- 
sciousness intermittent, a series of flashes of varying intensities. 
Consciousness is, as it were, the occasional interception of mes- 
sages continually transmitted, as a mechanical receiving device 
selects a few of the vibrations with which the air is filled and 
renders them audible. Experience and Nature. 

4. A mind that has opened itself to experience and that has 
ripened through its discipline knows its own littleness and im- 
potencies; it knows that its wishes and acknowledgments are 
not final measures of the universe whether in knowledge or in 
conduct, and hence are, in the end, transient. But it also knows 
that its juvenile assumption of power and achievement is not 
a dream to be wholly forgotten. It implies a unity with the 
universe that is to be preserved. The belief, and the effort of 
thought and struggle which it inspires, are also the doing of 
the universe, and they in some way, however slight, carry the 
universe forward. A chastened sense of our importance, ap- 
prehension that it is not a yardstick by which to measure the 
whole, is consistent with the belief that we and our endeavors 
are significant not only for themselves but in the whole. 
Experience and Nature. 

5. Mind is no longer a spectator beholding the world from 
without and finding its highest satisfaction in the joy of self- 
sufficing contemplation. The mind is within the world as a part 
of the latter's own ongoing process. It is marked off as mind by 
the fact that wherever it is found, changes take place in a 
directed way, so that a movement in a definite one-way sense 
from the doubtful and confused to the clear, resolved and settled 
takes place. The Quest for Certainty. 



6. Mind is more than consciousness, because it is the abiding 
even though changing background of which consciousness is 
the foreground. Mind changes slowly through the joint tuition 
of interest and circumstance. Consciousness is always in rapid 
change, for it marks the place where the formed disposition 
and tie immediate situation touch and interact It is the con- 
tinuous readjustment of self and the world in experience. 
Art as Experience. 

7, "Minds" exist and do the knowing. Knotting and the 
Known (with A. F, Bentley). 

See also: Conservatism 3; Inference 2; Interaction 1; Knowl- 
edge 1, 6, 7; Open-mindedness 1, 3; Philosophy 7; Respon- 
sibility 3; Social Psychology. 


The great thing is not to avoid mistakes but to have them 
take place under conditions such that they can be utilized to 
increase intelligence in the future. Reconstruction in Philos- 

See also: Knowledge 8; Science 1; Thinking 8. 


1. We do not eat money, or wear it, or marry it, or listen 

for musical strains to issue from it Pecuniary profit in itself, 

in other words, is always strictly instrumental, and it is of the 
nature of this instrument to be effective in proportion to size. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. Anthropologically speaking, we are living in a money 
culture. . , . Our materialism, our devotion to money making 
and to having a good time, are not things by themselves. They 
are the product of the fact that we live in a money culture; of 
the fact that our technique and technology are controlled by 
interest in private profit. Individual, Old and New. 



3. Money spent on education is a social investment an in- 
vestment in future well-being, moral, economic, physical, and 
intellectual, of the country.~-"Crisis in Education," in The Amer- 
See also: Culture 3; Labor; Morality 1. 


1. Morals is as much a matter of interaction of a person with 
his social environment as walking is an interaction of legs 
with a physical environment. The character of walking de- 
pends upon the strength and competency of legs. But it also 
depends upon whether a man is walking in a bog or on a 
paved street, upon whether there is a safeguarded path set 
aside or whether he has to ,walk amid dangerous vehicles. If 
the standard of morals is low it is because the education given 
by the interaction of the individual with his social environment 
is defective. Of what avail is it to preach unassuming simplicity 
and contentment of life when communal admiration goes to 
the man who "succeeds" who makes himself conspicuous and 
envied because of command of money and other forms of 
power? Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. Morals has to do with all activity into which alternative 
possibilities enter. For wherever they enter a difference be- 
tween better and worse arises. Reflection upon action means 
uncertainty and consequent need of decision as to which course 
is better. Ibid. 

3. All moral judgment is experimental and subject to revi- 
sion. Ibid. 

4. Why did morality set up rules so foreign to human nature? 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

5. Morals may be a growing science if it is to be a science at 
all, not merely because all truth has not yet been appropriated 



by the mind of man, but because life is a moving affair in 
which old moral truth ceases to apply. Ibid. 

6. Morals is not a theme by itself because it is not an episode 
nor department by itself. It marks the issue of all the converg- 
ing forces of life. "Credo," in the Living Philosophies (a Sym- 

7. When social life is in a state of flux, moral issues cease 
to gather exclusively about personal conformity and deviation. 
They center in the value of social arrangements, of laws, of 
inherited traditions that have crystallized into institutions, in 
changes that are desirable. Institutions lose their quasi-sacred- 
ness and are the objects of moral questioning. We now live in 
such a period. Erfucs ( with J. H. Tufts; revised ed. ) . 

8. Just as physical life cannot exist without the support of a 
physical environment, so moral life cannot go on without the 
support of a moral environment. Art as Experience. 

See also: Discussion 2; International Relations 2; Perfection. 


Morals is the most humane of all subjects. It is that which 
is closest to human nature; it is ineradicably empirical, not theo- 
logical nor metaphysical nor mathematical Since it directly 
concerns human nature, everything that can be known of the 
human mind and body in physiology, medicine, anthropology, 
and psychology is pertinent to moral inquiry. Human nature 
exists and operates in an environment. And it is not "uT that 
environment as coins are in a box, but as a plant is in the sun- 
light and soil. It is of them, continuous with their energies, de- 
pendent upon their support, capable of increase only as it 
utilizes them, and as it gradually rebuilds from their crude 
indifference an environment genially civilized. Hence physics, 
chemistry, history, statistics, engineering, science, are a part 



of disciplined moral knowledge so far as they enable us to 
understand the conditions and agencies through which man 
lives, and on account of which he forms and executes his plans. 
Moral science is not something with a separate province. It 
is physical, biological and historic knowledge placed in a human 
context where it will illuminate and guide the activities of men. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 
See also: Morality. 




1. The naturalistic method, when it is consistently followed, 
destroys many things once cherished; but it destroys them by 
revealing their inconsistency with the nature of thingsa flaw 
that always attended them and deprived them of efficacy for 
aught save emotional consolation. But its main purport is not 
destructive; empirical naturalism is rather a winnowing fan. 
Experience and Nature. 

2. Philosophic naturalism still has a work to do in a field 
that so far it has hardly done more than touch. . . . Such words 
as "mind/* "subject," "self," "person/' "the individual/' to say 
nothing of "value/* are more than tinged in their current usage 
with signification they absorbed from beliefs of an extranatural 
character. There is almost no word employed in psychological 
and societal analysis and description that does not reflect this 
influence. "Antinaturalism in Extremis,** in Naturalism and the 
Human Spirit (a Symposium, ed. by Y. H. Krikorian). 


1. Nature is not an unchangeable order, unwinding itself 
majestically from the reel of law under the control of deified 
forces. It is an indefinite congeries of changes. Laws are not 



governmental regulations which limit change, but are con- 
venient formulations of selected portions of change followed 
through a longer or shorter period of time, and then registered 
in statistical forms that are amenable to mathematical manipu- 
lation. The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other 

2. Man's home is nature; his purposes and aims are depend- 
ent for execution upon natural conditions. Separated from such 
conditions they become empty dreams and idle indulgences of 
fancy. Democracy and Education. 

3. Nature has no preference for good things over bad things, 
its mills turn out any kind of grist mdifferently, Earpertenc^ 
and Nature. 

4. The human situation falls wholly within nature. It reflects 
the traits of nature, it gives indisputable evidence that in nature 
itself qualities and relations, individualities and uniformities, 
finalities and efficacies, contingencies and necessities are in- 
extricably bound together. Ibid. 

5. Nature is capable of being understood. . . . Nature has 
intelligible order as its possession in the degree in which we by 
our own overt operations realize potentialities contained in it. 
The Quest for Certainty. 

See also: Experience 4; Knowledge 6; Law of Nature 1; Order; 
Power 2. 



Parents, priests, chiefs, social censors have supplied aims, 
aims which were foreign to those upon whom they were im- 
posed, to the young, laymen, ordinary folk; a few have given 
and administered rule, and the mass have in a passable fashion 
and with reluctance obeyed. Everybody knows that good chil- 
dren are those who make as little trouble as possible for their 
elders, and since most of them cause a good deal of annoyance 
they must be naughty by nature. Generally speaking, good 
people have been those who did what they were told to do, 
and lack of eager compliance is a sign of something wrong in 
their nature. -Human Nature and Conduct. 
See also: Discipline 2. 


The condition either of total lack of interest or of impartially 
distributed interest is as mythical as the story of the ass in 
scholastic ethics.* Interest and Effort in Education. 
See also: Mind 1; Philosophers 1. 

* The story attributed to a fourteenth century thinker by the name 
of 'Buridan states that an ass, once placed precisely between two identi- 
cal mangers, would perish from starvation, being completely unable to 
decide from which manger to start eating. 




1. The proper objects of science are nature. Experience and 

2, It is not a new discovery that the word "object" is highly 
ambiguous, being used for the sticks and stones, the cats and 
dogs, the chairs and tables of ordinary experiences, for the 
atoms and electrons of physics, and for any kind of "entity" 
that has logical subsistenceas in mathematics. In spite of the 
recognized ambiguity, one whole branch of modern epistemol- 
ogy is derived from the assumption that in the case of at least 
the first two cases, the word "object" has the same general 
meaning. For otherwise the subject-matter of physics and the 
things of everyday experience would not have presented them- 
selves as rivals, and philosophy would not have felt an obliga- 
tion to decide which is "real" and which is "appearance," or at 
least an obligation to set up a scheme in which they are "recon- 
ciled." The place occupied in modern philosophy by the prob- 
lem of the relation of the so-called "scientific objects" and 
"common-sense objects" is proof, in any case, of the dominating 
presence of a distinction between the "objective" and the "sub- 
jective" which was unknown in ancient philosophy. It indicates 
that at least in the sense of awareness of an ever-present prob- 
lem, modern philosophy is "objective-subjective," not just sub- 

Genuinely complete empirical philosophy requires that there 
be a determination in terms of experience of the relation that 
exists between physical subject-matter and the things of direct 
perception, use, and enjoyment. It would seem clear that his- 
toric empiricism, because of its commitment to sensationalism, 
failed to meet this need. The obvious way of meeting the re- 
quirement is through explicit acknowledgment that direct ex- 
perience contains, as a highly important direct ingredient of 
itself, a wealth of possible objects. There is no inconsistency 
between the idea of direct experience and the idea of objects 



of that experience which are as yet unrealized. For these latter 
objects are directly experienced as possibilities. Every plan, 
every protection, yes, every forecast and anticipation, is an 
experience in which some non-directly experienced object is 
directly experienced as a possibility. And, as previously sug- 
gested, modern experience is marked by the extent to which 
directly perceived, enjoyed, and suffered objects are treated 
as signs, indications of what has not been experienced in and 
of itself, or/and are treated as means for the realization of these 
things of possible experience. Because historic empirical phi- 
losophy failed to take cognizance of this fact, it was not able to 
account for one of the most striking features of scientific method 
and scientific conclusions preoccupation with generality as 

For scientific methods and scientific subject-matter combine 
highly abstract or "theoretical" considerations with directly 
present concrete sensible material, and the generality of con- 
clusions reached is directly dependent upon the presence of 
the first-named type of considerations. Now in modern philos- 
ophy, just as scientific "objects" have been set over against 
objects in direct experience, thereby occasioning the ontologi- 
cal problem of modern philosophy (the problem of where 
"reality" is to be found), so identification of the experiential 
with but one of the two factors of the method of knowing has 
created the epistemological problem of modern philosophy: the 
relation of the "conceptual" and "perceptual"; of sense and 
understanding. Problems of Men. 
See also: Art 3; Desire 1; Possibility 2. 


1. Openness of mind means accessibility of mind to any and 
every consideration that will throw light upon the situation 
that needs to be cleared up, and that will help determine the 



consequences o acting this way or that. Democracy and Edu- 

2. Open-mindedness is very different from empty-minded- 
ness. While it is hospitality to new themes, facts, ideas, ques- 
tions, it is not the kind of hospitality that would be indicated 
by hanging out a sign: "Come right in; there is nobody at 
home." It includes an active desire to listen to more sides than 
one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to 
give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the 
possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us. 
How to Think. 

3. The open mind is a nuisance if it is merely passively open 
to allow anything to find its way into a vacuous mind behind 
the opening. It is significant only as it is the mark of an actively 
searching mind, one on the alert for further knowledge and 
understanding. Educati on and the Social Order (a Pamphlet) . 
See also: Ignorance. 


The optimism that says that the world is already the best pos- 
sible of all worlds might be regarded as the most cynical of 
pessimisms. If this is the best possible, what would a world 
which was fundamentally bad be like? Reconstruction in Phi- 


There is in nature, even below the level of life, something 
more than mere flux and change. . . . Changes interlock and 
sustain each other. Wherever there is coherence, there is en- 
durance. Order is not imposed from without but is made out of 
the relations of harmonious interactions that energies bear to 
one another. . . . Order cannot but be admirable in a world 
constantly threatened with disorder in a world where living 



creatures can go on living only by taking advantage of what- 
ever order exists about them, incorporating it into themselves. 
Art as Experience. 

See also: International Relations 2; Law of Nature 2; Nature 



Our country has been favored above other nations in its 
geographical position and by its history. Our remoteness from 
file great warring countries, our size and our resources have 
for the most part protected us from the entanglements, the 
jealousies, suspicions and animosities which the long, sad cen- 
turies have decreed to Europe. With such conditions it would 
be a shame indeed if a spirit of good-will, a spirit of amity to 
other nations, had not grown up among us. ... We have, to 
be sure, an economic interest in the peace of the world, since 
peaceful and industrial nations make the best and safest cus- 
tomers. I would not belittle any motive that tends toward peace. 
But we have an interest in the peace of the world deeper and 
broader than that which self-interest dictates. We are bound 
by the history and spirit of our position in the world, and the 
law of noblesse oblige the law that urges that every human 
being shall use his advantages and privileges not for his own 
enjoyment alone, but as well for the aid and service of his 
neighbors lies more heavily upon us than it does upon any 
other nation that has ever existed. If we should be recreant to 
the trust we prove ourselves unworthy of our past and of our 
opportunity. Character s and Events, II. 
See also : Certainty 2; War 3. 




1. The visible is set in the invisible; and in the end what is 
unseen decides what happens in the seen; the tangible rests 
precariously upon the untouched and ungrasped. Experience 
and Nature. 

2. We speak of perception and its object. But perception and 
its object are built up and complete in one and the same con- 
tinuing operation. Art as Experience. 

See also: Culture 2; Mind 3; Objects 2. 


Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever enduring process 
of perfecting, maturing, refining, is the aim of living. . . . The 
bad man is the man who, no matter how good he has been, is 
beginning to deteriorate, to grow less good. The good man is 
the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is 
moving to become better. Such a conception makes one severe 
in judging himself and humane in judging others. Reconstruc- 
tion in Philosophy. 
See also: Possibility 4. 


1. As the philosopher has received his problem from the 
world of action, so he must return his account there for audit- 
ing and liquidation. The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy 
and Other Essays. 

2. It is an old story that philosophers, in common with theolo- 
gians and social theorists, are as sure that personal habits and 
interests shape their opponents' doctrines as they are that their 
own beliefs are "absolutely" universal and objective in quality. 
Essays in Experimental Logic. 

3. Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device 
for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a 



method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the prob- 
lems of men. In the Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Prag- 
matic Attitude ( a Symposium ) . 

4. Philosophers are parts of history, caught in its movement; 
creators perhaps in some measure of its future, but also as- 
suredly creatures of its past, Philosophy and Civilization. 

5. A philosopher who would relate his thinking to present 
civilization, in its predominantly technological and industrial 
character, cannot ignore any of [the past] movements. . . If he 
ignores traditions, his thoughts become thin and empty. But 
they are something to be employed, not just treated with respect 
or dressed out in a new vocabulary. In Whither Mankind (ed. 
by C. A. Beard). 

See also: Ideals 2; Philosophy; Pluralism; Possibility 2. 


1. Better it is for philosophy to err in active participation in 
the living struggles and issues of its own age and time than to 
maintain an immune, monastic impeccability. In the Essays, 
Philosophical and Psychological, in Honor of William James (a 

2. Philosophic theory has no Aladdin's lamp to summon into 
immediate existence the values which it intellectually con- 
structs. Democracy and Education. 

3. When it is understood that philosophic thinking is caught 
up in the actual course of events, having the office of guiding 
them towards a prosperous issue, problems will abundantly 
present themselves. Philosophy will not solve these problems; 
philosophy is vision, imagination, reflection and these func- 
tions apart from action, modify nothing and hence resolve 
nothing. But in a complicated and perverse world, action which 
is not informed with vision, imagination and reflection is more 
likely to increase confusion and conflict than to straighten things 



out. In the Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Pragmatic Atti- 
tude (a Symposium). 

4. Philosophy in America will be lost between chewing a his- 
toric cud long since reduced to woody fiber, or an apologetics 
for lost causes (lost to natural science), or a scholastic, sche- 
matic, formalism, unless it can somehow bring to consciousness 
America's own need and its own implicit principle of successful 
action. Ibid. 

5. What philosophy has been unconsciously, without know- 
ing it or intending it, and, so to speak, under cover, it must 
henceforth be openly and deliberately. When it is acknowledged 
that, under disguise of dealing with ultimate reality, philosophy 
has been occupied with the precious values embedded in social 
traditions, that it has sprung from a clash of social ends and 
from a conflict of inherited institutions with incompatible con- 
temporary tendencies, it will be seen that the task of future 
philosophy is to clarify men s ideas as to the social and moral 
strifes of their own day. Its aim is to become so far as is humanly 
possible an organ for dealing with these conflicts. Reconstruc- 
tion in Philosophy. 

6. The distinctive office, problems and subject-matter of phi- 
losophy grow out of stresses and strains in the community life 
in which a given form of philosophy arises, and accordingly its 
specific problems vary with the changes in human life that aie 
always going on and that at times constitute a crisis and a turn- 
ing point in human history. . . 

In philosophy today there are not many who exhibit confi- 
dence about its ability to deal competently with the serious 
issues of the day. Lack of confidence is manifested in concern 
for the improvement of techniques, and in threshing over the 
systems of the past. Both of these interests are justifiable in a 
way, But with respect to the first, the way of reconstruction is 
not through giving attention to form at the expense of substan- 
tial content, as in the case with techniques that are used only to 



develop and refine still more purely formal skills. With respect 
to the second, the way is not through increase of erudite scholar- 
ship about the past that throws no light upon the issues now 
troubling mankind. It is not too much to say that, as far as in- 
terest in the two topics just mentioned predominates, the with- 
drawal from the present scene, increasingly evident in philoso- 
phy, is itself a sign of the extent of the disturbance and 
unsettlement that now marks the other aspects of man's life. 
Indeed, we may go farther and say that such withdrawal is 
one manifestation of just those defects of past systems that 
render them of little value for the troubled affairs of the present: 
namely, the desire to find something so fixed and certain as to 
provide a secure refuge. The problems with which a philosophy 
relevant to the present must deal are those growing out of 
changes going on with ever-increasing rapidity, over an ever- 
increasing human-geographical range, and with ever-deepen- 
ing intensity of penetration. Introduction to the 1948 edition 
of Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

7. Modern philosophy, understanding by this term that which 
has been influenced by the rise of the newer natural science, has 
contained within itself an inner division. It has tried to combine 
acceptance of the conclusions of scientific inquiry as to the 
natural world with acceptance of doctrines about the nature 
of mind and knowledge which originated before there was such 
a thing as systematic experimental inquiry. Between the two 
there is an inherent incompatibility. The Quest for Certainty. 

8. Philosophy is not a special road to something alien to 
ordinary beliefs, knowledge, action, enjoyment, and suffering. 
It is rather a criticism, a critical viewing, of just these familiar 
things. It differs from other criticism only in trying to carry it 
further and to pursue it methodically. . . Men thought before 
there was logic, and they judged right and wrong, good and 
evil, before there was ethics. Before there was ever anything 
termed metaphysics men were familiar with distinctions of the 



real and the unreal in experience, with the fact that processes 
whether of physical or human nature have results, and that 
expected and desired results often do not happen because some 
process has its path crossed by some other course of events. But 
there is confusion and conflict, ambiguity and inconsistency, in 
our experience of familiar objects and in our beliefs and as- 
pirations relating to them. As soon as any one strives to intro- 
duce definiteness, clarity, and order on any broad scale, he 
enters the road that leads to philosophy. Construction and 

9. It shows a deplorable deadness of imagination to suppose 
that philosophy will indefinitely revolve within the scope of the 
problems and systems that two thousand years of European 
history have bequeathed to us. . . A chief task of those who 
call themselves philosophers is to help get rid of the useless 
lumber that blocks our highways of thought, and strive to make 
straight and open the paths that lead to the future. "From 
Absolutism to Experimentalism," in Contemporary American 
Philosophy, II ( a Symposium, ed. by G. P. Adams and W. P. 

10. Philosophy, like art, moves in the medium of imaginative 
mind. Art as Experience. 

11. Philosophy still has a work to do. It may gain a role for 
itself by turning to consideration of why it is that man is now 
so alienated from man. It may turn to the projection of large 
generous hypotheses which, if used as plans of action, will give 
intellectual direction to men in search for ways to make the 
world more one of worth and significance, more homelike, in 
fact. There is no phase of life, educational, economic, political, 
religious, in which inquiry may not aid in bringing to birth that 
world which Matthew Arnold rightly said was as yet unborn. 
Present-day philosophy cannot desire a better work than to 
engage in the act of midwifery that was assigned to it by 
Socrates twenty-five hundred years ago. Problems of Men. 



See also: Civilization 4; Matter 2; Objects 2; Philosophers; 


What philosophers have got to do is to work out a fresh 
analysis of the relations between the one and the many. Our 
shrinking world presents that issue today in a thousand differ- 
ent forms. Pluralism is the greatest philosophical idea of our 
times. How are we going to make the most of the new values 
we set on variety, difference, and individuality how are we 
going to realize their possibilities in every field, and at the 
same time not sacrifice that plurality to die cooperation we 
need so much? How can we bring things together as we must 
without losing sight of plurality? There is an intellectual prob- 
lem for philosophers to get busy uponl From the last Lecture 
to his graduate students, as recorded in "The Idea of Pluralism" 
by J. H. Randall, Jr. 


1. Possibilities are more important than what already exists, 
and knowledge of the latter counts only in its bearing upon 
possibHities. "Progressive Education and the Science of Edu- 
cation," in Progressive Education, V (1928). 

2. The relation between objects as known and objects with 
respect to value is that between the actual and the possible. 
'The actual*' consists of given conditions; "the possible" denotes 
ends or consequences not now existing but which the actual 
may through its use bring into existence. The possible in respect 
to any given actual situation is thus an ideal for that situation. . . 
There are three ways of idealizing the world. There is idealiza- 
tion through purely intellectual and logical processes, in which 
reasoning alone attempts to prove that the world has characters 
that satisfy our highest aspirations. There are, again, moments 



of intense emotional appreciation when, through a happy con- 
junction of the state of the self and of the surrounding world, 
the beauty and harmony of existence is disclosed in experiences 
which are the immediate consummation of all for which we 
long. Then there is an idealization through actions that are 
directed by thought, such as are manifested in the works of 
fine art and in all human relations perfected by loving care. 
The first path has been taken by many philosophers. The second 
while it lasts is the more engaging. It sets the measure of our 
ideas of possibilities that are to be realized by intelligent en- 
deavour. But its objects depend upon fortune and are insecure. 
The third method represents the way of deliberate quest for 
security of the values that are enjoyed by grace of our happy 
moments. The Quest for Certainty. 

3. Possibilities are embodied in works of art that are not 
elsewhere actualized. Art as Experience. 

4. No one lives in a world in which he has found everything 
at all times perfect. If he understands the meaning of this fact 
he has learned to be alive to possibilities. The potential better 
will then be regarded as the goodand the only good of any 
situation, a statement as applicable to scientific inquiry as to 
any moral matter. Reply in The Philosophy of John Dewey ( a 
Symposium, ed. by P. A. Schilpp). 

See also: Future 4; Ideals 2; Liberalism 3; Objects 2; Pluralism; 
Thinking 12; Value. 


1. The madness with which the gods afflict those whom they 
would destroy is precisely the temptation to use a temporary 
possession of strategic power so as to make that power perma- 
nent. Characters and Events. 

2. Human power over the physical energies of nature has 
immensely increased. In moral ideal, power of man over physi- 



cal nature should be employed to reduce, to eliminate progres- 
sively, the power of man over man. By what means shall we 
prevent its use to effect new, more subtle, more powerful 
agencies of subjection of men to other men? Both the issue of 
war or peace between nations, and the future of economic 
relations for years and generations to come in contribution 
either to human freedom or human subjection are involved. 
An increase of power undreamed of a century ago, one to whose 
further increase no limits can be put as long as scientific inquiry 
goes on, is an established fact. The thing still uncertain is what 
we are going to do with it Freedom and Culture. 

3. The possession of effective power is always a matter of 
the distribution of power that exists at the time. A physical 
analogy may make clear what I mean. Water runs downhill 
and electric currents flow because of difference in potentials. 
If the ground is level, water is stagnant. If on the level of ocean, 
there are dashing waves, it is because there is another power 
operating, that of the winds, occasioned ultimately by a differ- 
ence in the distribution of temperature at different points. There 
is no such thing physically as manifestation of energy or effec- 
tive power by one thing except in relation to the energy mani- 
fested by other things. There is no such thing as the liberty or 
effective power of an individual, group, or class, except in 
relations to the liberties, the effective powers, of other indi- 
viduals, groups, and classes. 

Demand for retention of powers already possessed on the 
part of a particular group means, therefore, that other indi- 
viduals and groups shall continue to possess only the capacities 
in and for activity which they already possess. Demand for 
increased power at one point means demand for change in 
the distribution of powers, that is, for less power somewhere 
else. You cannot discuss or measure the liberty of one individual 
or group of individuals without thereby raising the question 
of tie effect upon the liberty of others, any more than you can 



measure the energy of a head water at the head without meas- 
uring the difference of levels.-Problems of Men. 
See also: Authority 2; Human Concerns; Knowledge 6; Liberty 
4; Machine 3; Man 2. 


1. I ... affirm that the term "pragmatic" means only the rule 
of referring all thinking, all reflective considerations, to conse- 
quences for final meaning and test-Essays in Experimental 

2. Pragmatism as attitude represents what Mr. Peirce has 
happily termed "the laboratory habit of mind" extended into 
every arena where inquiry may fruitfully be carried on. Ibid. 
See also: Reality 2. 


Prejudice is strengthened in influence, but hardly in value, 
by the number who share it Essays in Experimental Logic. 
See also: Psychology; School 6. 


1. "Present" activity is not a sharp narrow knife-blade in time. 
The present is complex, containing within itself a multitude of 
habits and impulses. It is enduring, a course of action, a process 
including memory, observation and foresight, a pressure for- 
ward, a glance backward and a look outward. It is of moral 
moment because it marks a transition in the direction of breadth 
and clarity of action or in that of triviality and confusion. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. Knowledge of tbe past is significant only as it deepens and 
extends our understanding of the present. Logic; the Theory 
of Inquiry. 



See also: Change 5; Education 15; Future 2, 4; History 1; Phi- 
losophers 4; Progress 2. 


1. Problems are solved only where they arisenamely in 
action, in the adjustments of behavior. But, for good or for evil, 
they can be solved only with method; and ultimately method 
is intelligence, and intelligence is method. The Influence of 
Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays. 

2. A problem well stated is half solved. How We Think. 

3. The way in which the problem is conceived decides what 
specific suggestions are entertained and which are dismissed; 
what data are selected and which rejected; it is the criterion for 
relevancy and irrelevancy of hypotheses and conceptual struc- 
tures. On the other hand, to set up a problem that does not 
grow out of an actual situation is to start on a course of dead 
work. Logic; the Theory of Inquiry. 

See also: Culture 4; Hypotheses 3; Ideas 1; Interaction 2; Phi- 
losophers 3; Philosophy 3, 6; Science 9; Scientific Method 


Natural science is forced by its own development to abandon 
the assumption of fixity and to recognize that what for it is 
actually "universal" is process; but this fact of recent science 
still remains in philosophy, as in popular opinion up to the 
present time, a technical matter rather than what it is; namely, 
the most revolutionary discovery yet made. Introduction to 
the 1948 edition of Reconstruction in Philosophy. 
See also: Environment 5; Mind 5; Perfection. 


1. The moment production is severed from immediate satis- 
faction, it becomes "labor." Human Nature and Conduct 



2. The whole tendency of modern economic life has been to 
assume that consumption will take care of itself provided only 
production is grossly and intensely attended to. Making things 
is frantically accelerated; and every mechanical device is used 
to swell the senseless bulk. As a result most workers find no 
replenishment, no renewal and growth of mind, no fulfillment 
in work. They labor to get more means of later satisfaction. 
This procured is isolated in turn from production and is reduced 
to a barren physical affair or a sensuous compensation for 
normal goods denied. . . Production apart from fulfillment be- 
comes purely a matter of quantity; for distinction, quality, is 
a matter of present meaning. Esthetic elements being excluded, 
the mechanical reign. Production lacks criteria; one thing is 
better than another if it can be made faster or in greater mass. 
Leisure is not the nourishment of mind in work, nor a recreation; 
it is a feverish hurry for diversion, excitement, display, other- 
wise there is no leisure except a sodden torpor. Fatigue due 
for some to monotony and for others to overstrain in maintain- 
ing the pace is inevitable.Ifotd!. 


1. The good man not only measures his acts by a standard 
but he is concerned to revise his standard. The highest form of 
conscientiousness is interest in constant progress. Ethics (with 
J. H. Tufts). 

2. Progress is present reconstruction adding fullness and 
distinctness of meaning, and retrogression is a present slipping 
away of significance, determination, grasp. Those who hold 
that progress can be perceived and measured only by reference 
to a remote goal, first confuse meaning with space, and then 
treat spatial position as absolute, as limiting movement instead 
of being bounded in and by movement. . . Unless progress is a 
present reconstruction, it is nothing; if it cannot be told by 



qualities belonging to the movement of transition it can never 
be judged. Human Nature and Conduct. 

3. Progress in civilization has not only meant increase in the 
scope and intricacy of problems to be dealt with, but it entails 
instability. For in multiplying wants, instruments and possi- 
bilities, it increases the variety of forces which enter into rela- 
tions with one another and which have to be intelligently 
directed. . . From the standpoint of definite approximation to 
an ultimate goal, the balance falls heavily on the side of pes- 
simism. The more striving, the more attainments, perhaps; but 
also assuredly the more needs and the more disappointments. 
The more we do and the more we accomplish, die more the 
end is vanity and vexation. From the standpoint of attainment 
of good that stays put, that constitutes a definite sum performed 
which lessens the amount of effort required in order to reach 
the ultimate goal of final good, progress is an illusion. But we 
are looking for it in the wrong place. The world war is a bitter 
commentary on the nineteenth century misconception of moral 
achievement a misconception however which is only inherited 
from the traditional theory of fixed ends, attempting to bolster 
up that doctrine with aid from the "scientific" theory of evolu- 
tion. The doctrine of progress is not yet bankrupt. The bank- 
ruptcy of the notion of fixed goods to be attained and stably 
possessed may possibly be the means of turning the mind of 
man to a tenable theory of progress to attention to present 
troubles and possibilities. Ibid. 
See also: Education 3; Freedom 5; Loyalty 1; Youth 1. 


1. Psychology is the attempt to state in detail the machinery 
of the individual considered as the instrument and organ 
through which social action operates. The Influence of Darwin 
on Philosophy and Other Essays. 



2. Popular psychology is a mass of cant, o slush, and of 
superstition worthy of the most flourishing days of the medicine 
man. The Public and Its Problems. 
See also: Equality; Habit 6; Knowledge 1; Self 1. 


We are beginning to realize that emotions and imagination 
are more potent in shaping public sentiment and opinion than 
information and reason, Freedom and Culture, 
See also: Process. 



That a person can leam efficiently to read and yet not form 
a taste for reading good literature, or without having curiosities 
aroused that will lead him to apply his ability to read to explore 
fields outside of what is conventionally termed good reading 
matter, are sad facts of experience. Learning to read may 
develop book-worms, children who read omnivorously, but at 
the expense of development of social and executive abilities 
and skills. The question of what one learns to read is thus 
inextricably bound up with the question of how one learns to 
read. Unfortunately, experience shows that the methods which 
most readily and efficiently bring about skills to read ( or write, 
or figure) in its narrower sense of ability to recognize, pro- 
nounce and put together words, do not at the same time take 
care of the formation of attitudes that decide the uses to which 
the ability is to be putThe Sources of a Science of Education. 


1. Non-empirical realities are nonentities. The Influence of 
Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays. 

2. Reality is a denotative term, a word used to designate 
indifferently everything that happens. Lies, dreams, insanities, 
deceptions, myths, theories are all of them just the events they 



specifically are. Pragmatism is content to take its stand with 
science; for science finds all such events to be subject-matter 
of description and inquiry just like stars and fossils, mosquitoes 
and malaria, circulation and vision. In the Creative Intelli- 
gence: Essays in the Pragmatic Attitude (a Symposium). 

3, Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality 
nearer to the heart's desire. Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

4 The method we term "scientific" forms for the modern 
man . . . the sole dependable means for disclosing the realities 
of existence. "Credo," in Living Philosophies (a Symposium). 
See also: Definition 2; Objects 2; Philosophy 5. 


1. Reason is experimental intelligence. Reconstruction in 

2. Neither the existence nor the positive value of the irrational 
in man is to be glossed over. All the instincts, impulses, and 
emotions which push man into action outside the treadmill of 
use and wont are irrational. The depths, the mysteries of nature 
are non-rational. The business of reason is not to extinguish the 
fires which keep the cauldron of vitality seething, nor yet to 
supply the ingredients which are in vital stir. Its task is to see 
that they boil to some purpose. Characters and Events. 

3. Reasoning, as such, can provide means for effecting the 
change of conditions but by itself cannot effect it Only execu- 
tion of existential operations directed by an idea in which 
ratiocination terminates can bring about the rendering of en- 
vironing conditions required to produce a settled and unified 
situation. Logic: the Theory of Inquiry. 

See also: Experience 5; Habit 1; Public Opinion. 


1. The distinguishing contribution of man is consciousness 
of the relations found in nature. Art as Experience. 



2. "Relation" is an ambiguous word. In philosophical dis- 
course it is used to designate a connection instituted in thought. 
It then signifies something indirect, something purely intellec- 
tual, even logical. But "relation" in its idiomatic usage denotes 
something direct and active, something dynamic and energetic. 
It fixes attention upon the way things bear upon one another, 
their clashes and unitings, the way they fulfill and frustrate, 
promote and retard, excite and inhibit one another.-- Ibid. 
See also: International Relations; Law 2; Law of Nature 4; 
Thinking 11. 


1. That science has the same spiritual import as supernatural- 
ism; that democracy translates into the same religious attitude 
as did feudalism; that it is only a matter of slight changes in 
phraseology, a development of old symbolism into new shades 
of meaning such beliefs testify to that torpor of imagination 
which is the uniform effect of dogmatic belief."Religion in 
Our Schools," in the Hibbert Journal, VI (1908). 

2. Religion has been distorted into a possession or burden 
of a limited part of human nature, of a limited portion of 
humanity which finds no way to universalize religion except 
by imposing its own dogmas and ceremonies upon others. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

3. Nowhere in the world at any time has religion been so 
thoroughly respectable as with us, and so nearly totally dis- 
connected from life. Individualism, Old and New. 

4. A religion that began as a demand for a revolutionary 
change and that has become a sanction to established economic, 
political, and international institutions should perhaps lead its 
sincere devotees to reflect upon the sayings of the one wor- 
shipped as its founder: "Woe unto you when all men shall 



speak well of you/* and, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile 
you and persecute you."-"Credo," in Living Philosophies (a 

5. It seems to me that the chief danger to religion lies in the 
fact that it has become so respectable. It has become largely a 
sanction of what socially exists a kind of gloss upon institutions 
and conventions. Ibid. 

6. Concretely there is no such thing as religion in the singu- 
lar. There is only a multitude of religions. A Common Faith. 

7. A religion always signifies a special body of beliefs and 
practices having some kind of institutional organization, loose 
or tight. In contrast, the adjective "religious" denotes nothing 
in the way of a specifiable entity, either institutional or as a sys- 
tem of beliefs. -Ibid. 

8. Any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal and against 
obstacles and in spite of threats of personal loss because of 
conviction of its general and enduring value is religious in 
quality. Ibid, 

9. It is sometimes held that beliefs about religious matters 
are symbolic, like rites and ceremonies. This view may be an 
advance upon that which holds to their literal objective validity. 
But as usually put forward it suffers from an ambiguity. Of 
what are the beliefs symbols? Are they symbols of things ex- 
perienced in other modes than those set apart as religious, so 
that the things symbolized have an independent standing? Or 
are they symbols in the sense of standing for some transcenden- 
tal reality transcendental because not being the subject-matter 
of experience generally? Even the fundamentalist admits a 
certain quality and degree of symbolism in the latter sense in 
objects of religious belief. For he holds that the objects of these 
beliefs are so far beyond finite human capacity that our beliefs 
must be couched in more or less metaphorical terms. The con- 
ception that f aith is the best available substitute for knowledge 



in our present estate still attaches to the notion of the symbolic 
character of the materials of faith; unless by ascribing to them 
a symbolic nature we mean that these materials stand for some- 
thing that is verifiable in general and public experience. 

Were we to adopt the latter point of view, it would be evident 
not only that the intellectual articles of a creed must be under- 
stood to be symbolic of moral and other ideal values, but that 
the facts taken to be historic and used as concrete evidence of 
the intellectual articles are themselves symbolic. These articles 
of a creed present events and persons that have been made 
over by the idealistic imagination in the interest, at their best, 
of moral ideals. . . It is admitted that the objects of religion are 
ideal in contrast with our present state. What would be lost if 
it were also admitted that they have authoritative claim upon 
conduct just because they are ideal? The assumption that these 
objects of religion exist already in some realm of Being seems 
to add nothing to their force, while it weakens their claim over 
us as ideals, in so far as it bases that claim upon matters that 
are intellectually dubious. The question narrows itself to this: 
Are the ideals that move us genuinely ideal or are they ideal 
only in contrast with our present estate? A Common Faith. 
See also: Authority 4; Mind 1; School 7. 


1. By responsibility as an element in intellectual attitude is 
meant the disposition to consider in advance the probable con- 
sequences of any projected step and deliberately to accept 
them: to accept them in the sense of taking them into account, 
acknowledging them in action, not yielding a mere verbal 
assent, Democracy and Education. 

2. Liability is the beginning of responsibility. We are held 
accountable by others for the consequences of our acts. They 
visit their like and dislike of these consequences upon us. In 



vain do we claim that these are not ours; that they are products 
of ignorance not design, or are incidents in the execution of a 
most laudable scheme. Their authorship is imputed to us. We 
are disapproved, and disapproval is not an inner state of mind 
but a most definite act. Others say to us by their deeds we do 
not care a fig whether you did this deliberately or not. . . The 
reference in blame and every unfavorable judgment is prospec- 
tive, not retrospective. Theories about responsibility may be- 
come confused, but in practice no one is stupid enough to try 
to change the past. Approbation and disapprobation are ways 
of influencing the formation of habits and aims; that is, of in- 
fluencing future acts. The individual is held accountable for 
what he has done in order that he may be responsive in what 
he is going to do. Human Nature and Conduct. 

3. There can be no stable and balanced development of mind 
and character apart from the assumption of responsibility. 
Individualism, Old and New. 

4. Ours is the responsibility of conserving, transmitting, recti- 
fying, and expanding the heritage of values we have received 
that those who come after us may receive it more solid and 
more secure, more widely accessible and more generously 
shared than we have received it. A Common Faith. 

5. Incapacity to assume responsibilities involved in having 
a voice in shaping policies is bred and increased by conditions 
in which that responsibility is denied. "Democracy and Edu- 
cational Administration," in School and Society, XLV (1937). 
See also: Democracy 2; Freedom 6; Human Concerns; Indi- 
viduality 2; Intelligence 1; School 2, 


The cost of revolutions must be charged up to those who have 
taken for their aim arrest of custom instead of its readjustment. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 
See also: Conservatism 2; Religion 4. 




1. Right is only an abstract name for the multitude of con- 
crete demands in action which others impress upon us, and of 
which we are obliged, if we would live, to take some account. 
Its authority is the exigency of their demands, the efficacy of 
their insistencies. There may be good ground for the contention 
that in theory the idea of the right is subordinate to that of the 
good, being a statement of the course proper to attain good. 
But in fact it signifies the totality of social pressures exercised 
upon us to induce us to think and desire in certain ways. Hence 
the right can in fact become the road to the good only as the 
elements that compose this unremitting pressure are enlight- 
ened, only as social relationships become themselves reasonable. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2. The concept of Rightness, in many cases, is independent 
of the concept of satisfaction and good. When a parent says 
"this is right and therefore you should do it," it is to be hoped 
that the performance of the act will actually conduce to some 
good. But as an idea, "right" introduces an element which is 
quite outside that of the good. This element is that of exaction, 
demand. . . Citizens in a just state respond at their personal 
inconvenience to the demands of the state, not because the 
latter may bring physical pressure or mental coercion to bear 
upon them, but because they are members of organized society: 
members in such an intimate sense that the demands are not 
external impositions even when they run counter to the good 
which a present desire calls for. The claims of friendship are 
not always agreeable; sometimes they may be extremely irk- 
some. But we should not hesitate to say that one who refused 
to meet them merely because they were troublesome was no 
true friend. If we generalize such instances, we reach the con- 
clusion that Right, law, duty, arise from the relations which 
human beings intimately sustain to one another, and that their 
authoritative force springs from the very nature of the relation 



that binds people together. Ethics (with J. H, Tufts; revised 

3. Natural rights and natural liberties exist only in the king- 
dom of mythological social zoology. Liberalism and Social 
See also: Equality; Freedom 10; Selfishness. 



1. Some few years ago I was looking about the school supply 
stores in the city, trying to find desks and chairs which seemed 
thoroughly suitable from all points of view artistic, hygienic, 
and educationalto the needs of children. We had a great deal 
of difficulty in finding what we needed, and finally one dealer, 
more intelligent than the rest, made this remark: "I am afraid 
we have not what you want. You want something at which the 
children may work; these are all for listening." 

That tells die story of traditional education. It is all made "for 
listening" because simply studying lessons out of a book is 
only another kind of listening; it marks the dependency of one 
mind upon another. The attitude of listening means compara- 
tively speaking, passivity, absorption; that there are certain 
ready-made materials which are there, which have been pre- 
pared by the school superintendent, the board, the teacher, and 
of which the child is to take in as much as possible in the least 
possible time. 

There is very little place in the traditional schoolroom for the 
child to work. The workshop, the laboratory, the materials, the 
tools with which the child may construct, create, and actively 
inquire, and even the requisite space, have been for the most 
part lacking. The things that have to do with these processes 



have not even a definitely recognized place in education, 
School and Society. 

2. I find the fundamental need of the school today dependent 
upon its limited recognition of the principle of freedom of in- 
telligence. This limitation appears to me to affect both of the 
elements of school life: teacher and pupil. As to both, the school 
has lagged behind the general contemporary social movement; 
and much that is unsatisfactory, much of conflict and of defeat, 
comes from the discrepancy between the relatively undemo- 
cratic organization of the school, as it affects the mind of both 
teacher and pupil, and the growth and extension of the demo- 
cratic principle in life beyond school doors. . . 

Until the public-school system is organized in such a way that 
every teacher has some regular and representative way in which 
he or she can register judgment upon matters of educational 
importance, with the assurance that this judgment will some- 
how affect the school system, the assertion that the present sys- 
tem is not, from the internal standpoint, democratic seems to 
be justified. Either we come here upon some fixed and inherent 
limitation of the democratic principle, or else we find in this 
fact an obvious discrepancy between the conduct of the schools 
and the conduct of social life a discrepancy so great as to 
demand immediate and persistent effort at reform. . . 

I know it will be said that this state of things, while an evil, 
is a necessary one; that without it confusion and chaos would 
reign; that such regulations are the inevitable accompaniments 
of any graded system. It is said that the average teacher is in- 
competent to take any part in laying out the course of study or 
in initiating methods of instruction or discipline. Is not this the 
type of argument which has been used from time immemorial 
and in every department of life, against the advance of de- 
mocracy? What does democracy mean save that the individual 
is to have a share in determining the conditions and the aims of 
his own work; and that upon the whole, through the free and 



mutual harmonizing of different individuals, the work of the 
world is better done than when planned, arranged, and directed 
by a few, no matter how wise or of how good intent that few? 
How can we justify our belief in the democratic principle else- 
where, and then go back entirely upon it when we corne to 

Moreover, the argument proves too much. The more it is 
asserted that the existing corps of teachers is unfit to have voice 
in the settlement of important educational matters, and their 
unfitness to exercise intellectual initiative and to assume the 
responsibility for constructive work is emphasized, the more 
their unfitness to attempt the much more difficult and delicate 
task of guiding souls appears. If this body is so unfit, how can 
it be trusted to carry out the recommendations of the dictations 
of the wisest body of experts? If teachers are incapable of the 
intellectual responsibility which goes with the determination 
of the methods they are to use in teaching, how can they employ 
methods when dictated by others, in other than a mechanical, 
capricious, and clumsy manner? The argument, I say, proves 
too much. 

Moreover, if the teaching force is as inept and unintelligent 
and irresponsible as the argument assumes, surely the primary 
problem is that of their improvement. Only by sharing in some 
responsible task does there come a fitness to share in it. The 
argument that we must wait until men and women are fully 
ready to assume intellectual and social responsibilities would 
have defeated every step in the democratic direction that has 
ever been taken. The prevalence of methods of authority and 
of external dictation and direction tends automatically to per- 
petuate the very conditions of inefficiency, lack of interest, in- 
ability to assume positions of self-determination, which consti- 
tute die reasons that are depended upon to justify the regime 
of authority. "Democracy in Education/' in the Elementary 
School Teacher, IV (1903). 



3. To an extent characteristic of no other institution, save 
that of the state itself, the school has power to modify the 
social order.-MoraZ Principles in Education (a Monograph 
ed. by H. Suzallo). ? 

4. What is learned in school is at the best only a small part 
of education, a relatively superficial part; and yet what is 
learned in school makes artificial distinctions in society and 
marks persons off from one another, Consequently we exag- 
gerate school learning compared with what is gained in the 
ordinary course of living.-ScTiooZs of To-Morrow (with 
Evelyn Dewey). 

5. We send children to school supposedly to learn in a sys- 
tematic way the occupations which constitute living, but to a 
very large extent the schools overlook, in the methods and sub- 
ject-matter of their teaching, the social basis of living. Instead 
of centering the work in the concrete, the human side of things, 
they put the emphasis on the abstract, hence the work is made 
academic unsocial. Work then is no longer connected with a 
group of people all engaged in occupations, but is isolated, 
selfish and individualistic. It is based on a conception of society 
which no longer fits the facts.-Zfo'd. 

6. Our schooling does not educate, if by education be meant 
a trained habit of discriminating inquiry and discriminating 
belief, the ability to look beneath a floating surface to detect 
the conditions that fix the contour of the surface, and the forces 
which create its waves and drifts. We dupe ourselves and 
others because we have not that inward protection against 
sensation, excitement, credulity, and conventionally stereotyped 
opinion which is found only in a trained mind. 

This fact determines the fundamental criticism to be leveled 
against current schooling, against what passes as an educa- 
tional system. It not only does little to make discriminating in- 
telligence a safeguard against surrender to the invasion of bunk 
but it does much to favor susceptibility to a welcoming re- 



ception of it. There appear to be two chief causes for this in- 
eptitude. One is the persistence, in the body of what is taught, 
of traditional material which is irrelevant to present conditions 
subject-matter of instruction which though valuable in some 
past period is so remote from the perplexities and issues of 
present life that its mastery, even if fairly adequate, affords 
no resource for discriminating insight, no protection against 
being duped in facing the emergencies of today. From the 
standpoint of this criterion of education, a large portion of cur- 
rent material of instruction is simply aside from the mark. . . 

The other way in which schooling fosters an ^discriminating 
gulping mental habit, eager to be duped, is positive. It consists 
in a systematic, almost deliberate, avoidance of the spirit of 
criticism in dealing with history, politics, and economics. There 
is an implicit belief that this avoidance is the only way by which 
to produce good citizens. The more undiscriminatingly the 
history and institutions of one's own nation are idealized, the 
greater is the likelihood, so it is assumed, that the school product 
will be a loyal patriot, a well equipped good citizen. . . 

The effect is to send students out into actual life in a condi- 
tion of acquired and artificial innocence. Such perceptions as 
they may have of the realities of social struggles and problems 
they have derived accidentally, by the way, and without the 
safeguards of intelligent acquaintance with facts and impar- 
tially conducted discussion. It is no wonder that they are ripe 
to be gulled, or that their attitude is one which merely per- 
petuates existing confusion, ignorance, prejudice, and credu- 

What will happen if teachers become sufficiently courageous 
and emancipated to insist that education means the creation 
of a discriminating mind, a mind that prefers not to dupe itself 
or to be the dupe of others? Clearly they will have to cultivate 
the habit of suspended judgment, of skepticism, of desire for 
evidence, of appeal to observation rather than sentiment, dis- 


____ SCHOOL 

cussion rather than bias, inquiry rather than conventional ideali- 
zations. When this happens schools will be the dangerous out- 
posts of a humane civilization. But they wiU also begin to be 
supremely interesting plzces.-Characters and Events, II. 

7. Just as schools have been led by actual conditions to be 
non-sectarian in religion, and thus have been forced to evade 
important questions about the bearings of contemporary 
science and historical knowledge upon traditional religious be- 
liefs, so they have tended to become colorless, because neutral, 
in most of the vital social issues of the day, The practical result 
is an indiscriminate complacency about actual conditions. The 
evil goes much deeper than the production of a split between 
theory and practice and the creating of a corresponding un- 
reality in theory. Our educational undertakings are left with- 
out unified direction and without the ardor and enthusiasm 
that are generated when educational activities are organically 
connected with dominant social purpose and conviction. Lack- 
ing direction by definite social ideals, these undertakings be- 
come the victims of special pressure groups, the subjects of 
contending special interests, the sport of passing intellectual 
fashions, the toys of dominant personalities who impress for a 
time their special opinions, the passive tools of antiquated tra- 
ditions. They supply students with technical instrumentalities 
for realizing such purposes as outside conditions breed in them. 
They accomplish little in forming the basic desires and pur- 
poses which determine special activities. In The Educational 
Frontier (a Symposium, ed. by W. H. Kilpatrick). 

8. Even in the classroom we are beginning to learn that learn- 
ing that develops intelligence and character does not come 
about when only the textbook and the teacher have a say, that 
every individual becomes educated only as he has an oppor- 
tunity to contribute something from his own experience, no 
matter how meager or slender that background of experience 
may be at a given time, and finally that enlightenment comes 


SCIENCE ^_______ 

from the give and take, from the exchange of experience and 
ideas. The realization of that principle in the schoolroom, it 
seems to me, is an expression of the significance of democracy 
as an educational process without which individuals cannot 
come either into the full possession of themselves or make a 
contribution, if they have it in them to make, to the social well- 
being of others, to the welfare of the whole of which they are 
a part. Problems of Men. 

9. All institutions are educational in the sense that they 
operate to form the attitudes, dispositions, abilities and dis- 
abilities that constitute a concrete personality. The principle 
applies with special force to the school. For it is the main busi- 
ness of the family and the school to influence directly the 
formation and growth of attitudes and dispositions, emotional, 
intellectual and moral. Whether this educative process is carried 
on in a predominantly democratic or non-democratic way be- 
comes, therefore, a question of transcendent importance not 
only for education itself but for the final effect upon all the 
interests and activities of a society that is committed to the 
democratic way of life. Hence, if the general tenor of what I 
have said about the democratic ideal and method is anywhere 
near the truth, it must be said that the democratic principle 
requires that every teacher should have some regular and or- 
ganic way in which he can, directly or through representatives 
democratically chosen, participate in the formation of the con- 
trolling aims, methods and materials of the school of which he 
is a part. Ibid. 
See also: Community 2; Discipline 1; Education 4, 12; Freedom 

5; Growth 2; Judgment 2; Knowledge 2; Learning 1, 2; 

Theory 2. 


1. It is only the worn-out cynic, the devitalized sensualist, 
and the fanatical dogmatist who interpret the continuous change 



of science as proving that, since each successive statement is 
wrong, the whole record is error and folly and that the present 
truth is only the error not yet found out Essays in Experi- 
mental Logic. 

2. Science has led men to look to the future instead of the 
pastDemocracy and Education. 

3. Every great advance in science has issued from a new 
audacity of imagination.-T/ie Quest for Certainty. 

4. Science signifies, I take it, the existence of systematic 
methods of inquiry, which, when they are brought to bear on 
a range of facts, enable us to understand them better and to 
control them more intelligently, less haphazardly and with 
less routine. Sources of a Science of Education, 

5. If there were an opposition between science and art, I 
should be compelled to side with those who assert that educa- 
tion is an art. But there is no opposition, although there is a 
distinction. We must not be misled by words. Engineering is, 
in actual practice, an art. But it is an art that progressively in- 
corporates more and more of science into itself, more of mathe- 
matics, physics and chemistry. It is the kind of art it is precisely 
because of a content of scientific subject-matter which guides 
it as a practical operation. There is room for the original and 
daring projects of exceptional individuals. But their distinction 
lies not in the fact that they turn their backs upon science, but 
in the fact that they make new integrations of scientific material 
and turn it to new and previously unfamiliar and unforeseen 
uses. Ibid. 

6. Because science starts with questions and inquiries it is 
fatal to all social system-making and programs of fixed ends. 
Individualism, Old and New. 

7. As long as we worship science and are afraid of philosophy 
we shall have no great science. Philosophy and Civilization. 

8. Science is not constituted by any particular body of sub- 



ject-matter. It is constituted by a method, a method of chang- 
ing beliefs by means of tested inquiry. A Common Faith. 

9. The scientific attitude ... is rooted in the problems that 
are set and questions that are raised by the conditions of 
actuality. The unscientific attitude is that which shuns such 
problems, which runs away from them, or covers them up 
instead of facing them. . . Positively, it is the will to inquire, to 
examine, to discriminate, to draw conclusions only on the basis 
of evidence after taking pains to gather all available evidence. 
"Unity of Science as a Social Problem," in the International 
Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Vol. I, No. 1 (1938). 
See also: Abstraction 2; Authority 4; Hypotheses 3; Knowledge 

1, 9; Law of Nature 3; Logic 1; Matter 2, 3; Philosophy 7; 

Process; Reality 2; Religion 1; Society 5; Value 1; World 2. 


1. We use scientific method in directing physical but not hu- 
man energies. Individualism, Old and New. 

2. Scientific method ... is but systematic, extensive, and 
carefully controlled use of alert and unprejudiced observation 
and experimentation in collecting, arranging, and testing evi- 
dence. "Antinaturalism in Extremis/' in Naturalism and the 
Human Spirit (a Symposium, ed. by Y. H. Krikorian). 

3. Since scientific methods simply exhibit free intelligence 
operating in the best manner available at a given time, the 
cultural waste, confusion, and distortion that result from the 
failure to use these methods, in all fields in connection with all 
problems, is incalculable. Logic; the Theory of Inquiry. 

4. Insistence upon numerical measurement, when it is not 
inherently required by the consequence to be effected, is a mark 
of respect for the ritual of scientific practice at the expense of 
its substance.-- Ibid. 



See also i Authority 4; Experimental Method; Objects 2; Reality 
4; Tolerance 3. 


1. Man who lives in a world of hazards is compelled to seek 
security. He has sought to attain it in two ways. One of them 
began with an attempt to propitiate the powers which environ 
him and determine his destiny. It expressed itself in supplica- 
tion, sacrifice, ceremonial rite and magical cult. In time these 
crude methods were largely displaced. The sacrifice of a con- 
trite heart was esteemed more pleasing than that of bulls and 
oxen; the inner attitude of reverence and devotion more de- 
sirable than external ceremonies. If man could not conquer 
destiny he could willingly ally himself with it; putting his will, 
even in sore affliction, on the side of the powers which dispense 
fortune, he could escape defeat and might triumph in the midst 
of destruction. 

The other course is to invent arts and by their means turn 
the powers of nature to account; man constructs a fortress out 
of the very conditions and forces which threaten him. He builds 
shelters, weaves garments, makes flame his friend instead of 
his enemy, and grows into the complicated arts of associated 
living. This is the method of changing the world through action, 
as the other is the method of changing the self in emotion and 
idea. It is a commentary on the slight control man has obtained 
over himself by means of control over nature, that the method 
of action has been felt to manifest dangerous pride, even de- 
fiance of the powers which be. The Quest -for Certainty, 

2. Any system that cannot provide elementary security foi 
millions has no claim to the title of being organized in behalf of 
liberty and the development of individuals. Any person and any 
movement whose interest in these ends is genuine and not a 
cover for personal advantage and power must put primary 



emphasis in thought and action upon the means of their attain- 
ment. Problems of Men. 
See also: Freedom 6; Interaction 4. 


1. We find the unity of the psychical processes . . . and there- 
fore their ultimate explanation, in the fact that man is a self . 

2. The self reveals its nature by what it chooses. E/ucs 

3. The self is not something ready-made, but something in 
continuous formation through choice of action. Democracy 
and Education. 

4. When dominating religious ideas were built up about the 
idea that the self is a stranger and pilgrim in this world; when 
morals, falling in line, found true good only in inner states of a 
self accessible to anything but its own private introspection; 
when political theory assumed the finality of disconnected and 
mutually exclusive personalities, the notion that the bearer of 
experience is antithetical to the world instead of being in and 
of it was congenial. It at least had the warrant of other beliefs 
and aspirations. But the doctrine of biological continuity of 
organic evolution has destroyed the scientific basis of the con- 
ception. . * 

If biological development be accepted, the subject of ex- 
perience is at least an animal, continuous with other organic 
forms in a process of more complex organization. An animal in 
turn is at least continuous with chemico-physical processes 
which, in living things, are so organized as really to constitute 
the activities of life with all their defining traits. And experience 
is not identical with brain action; it is the entire organic agent- 
patient in all its interaction with the environment, natural and 



social.-In the Creative Intelligence: Essays in the Pragmatic 
Attitude ( a Symposium ) . 

5. We can't help being individual selves, each one of us. If 
selfhood as such is a bad thing, the blame lies not with the self 
but with the universe, with providence. But in fact the distinc- 
tion between a selfishness with which we find fault and an un- 
selfishness which we esteem is found in the quality of the activ- 
ities which we proceed from and enter into the self, according 
as they are contractive, exclusive, or expansive, outreaching. 
Meaning exists for some self, but this truistic fact doesn't fix 
the quality of any particular meaning. It may be such as to 
make the self small, or such as to exalt and dignify the seE It 
is as impertinent to decry the worth of experience because it 
is connected with a self as it is fantastic to idealize personality 
just as personality aside from the question what sort of a person 
one is. Human Nature and Conduct. 

6. The organism the self, the subject of action-is a factor 
within experience and not something outside of it to which 
experiences are attached as the self's private property. Accord- 
ing to my view a characterization of any aspect, phase, or ele- 
ment of experience as mine is not a description of its direct 
experience but a description of experience with respect to some 
special problem for some special purpose, one which needs to 
be specified.-Reply in The Philosophy of John Dewey ( a Sym- 
posium, ed. by. P. A. Schilpp ) . 

See also: Experience 7; Knowledge 1; Selfishness; Universe 2; 
Words 4. 


Acts are not selfish because they evince consideration for the 
future well-being of the self. No one would say that deliberate 
care for one's own health, sufficiency, progress in learning is 
bad just because it is one's own. It is moral duty upon occasion 



to look out for oneself in these respects. Such acts acquire title 
quality of moral selfishness only when they are indulged in so 
as to manifest obtuseness to the claims of others. An act is not 
wrong because it advances the well-being of the self, but 
because it is unfair, inconsiderate, in respect to the rights, just 
claims, of others, Ethics (with J. H. Tufts; revised ed.). 
See also : Children 1; Human Nature 4; Peace; School 5; Self 5. 


Skepticism that is not ... a search is as much a personal 
indulgence as is dogmatism. The Quest for Certainty. 
See also: Schools. 


The problem of social psychology is not how either individual 
or collective mind forms social groups and customs, but how 
different customs, established interacting arrangements, form 
and nurture different minds. Human Nature and Conduct. 


1. What nutrition and reproduction are to physiological life, 
education is to social life. Democracy and Education. 

2. Society is one word, but infinitely many things. It covers 
all the ways in which by associating together men share their 
experiences, and build up common interests and aims. Recon- 
struction in Philosophy. 

3. Society is the process of associating in such ways that ex- 
perience, ideas, emotions, values are transmitted and made 
common. Ibid. 

4. "Society" is either an abstract or a collective noun. In the 
concrete, there are societies, associations, groups of an im- 
mense number of kinds, having ties and instituting different in- 
terests. They may be gangs, criminal bands; clubs for sport, 



sociability, and eating; scientific and professional organizations; 
political parties and unions within them; families; religious 
denominations, business partnerships, and corporations; and so 
on in an endless list. The associations may be local, nation-wide, 
and trans-national. Since there is no one thing which may be 
called society, except their indefinite overlappings, there is no 
unqualified eulogistic connotation adhering to the term "so- 
ciety." Some societies are in the main to be approved; some to 
be condemned, on account of their consequences upon the char- 
acter and conduct of those engaged in them and because of 
their remoter consequences upon others. All of them, like all 
things human, are mixed in quality; "society" is something to 
be approved and judged critically and discriminatingly. "So- 
cialization" of some sort that is, the reflex modification of 
wants, beliefs, and work because of share in a united action- 
is inevitable. But it is as marked in the formation of frivolous, 
dissipated, fanatical, narrow-minded, and criminal persons as 
in that of competent inquirers, learned scholars, creative artists, 
and good neighbors.-Tfte Public and Its Problems. 

5, Society, in order to solve its own problems and remedy 
its own ills, needs to employ science and technology for social 
instead of merely private ends. This need for a society in which 
experimental inquiry and planning for social ends are organi- 
cally contained is also the need for a new education. The Edu- 
cational Frontier (a Symposium, ed. by. W. H. Kilpatrick). 
See also: Democracy 3; Education 9; Individual 3; Interaction 
2, 3; Liberty 1; Right 2; School 4, 5. 


Some bodies have soul as some conspicuously have fragrance. 
To make this statement is to call attention to properties that 
characterize these bodies, not to import a mysterious non- 
natural entity or force, . . . But the idiomatic noa-doctrinal use 



of the word "soul" retains a sense of the realities concerned. To 
say emphatically of a particular person that he has soul or a 
great soul is not to utter a platitude, applicable generally to all 
human beings. It expresses the conviction that the man or 
woman in question has in marked degrees qualities of sensitive, 
rich and coordinated participation in all the situations of life. 
Thus works of art, music, poetry, painting, architecture have 
soul, while others are dead, mechanical. Experience and Na- 
See also: Words 4. 


1. Speech forms are our great carriers; the easy-running 
vehicles by which meanings are transported from experiences 
that no longer concern us to those that are as yet dark and 
dubious. How We Think. 

2. Language exists only when it is listened to as well as 
spoken. The hearer is an indispensable partner. . . . There is 
the speaker, the thing said, and the one spoken to. Experience 
and Nature. 

See also i Language. 


1. To explain the origin of the state by saying that man is a 
political animal is to travel in a verbal circle.--T7te Public and 
Its Problems. 

2. The state is the organization of the public effected through 
officials for the protection of the interests shared by its members. 

3. The state is as its officers axe, Ibid. 

4. We tend to submit individuality to the state instead of act- 
ing upon the belief that the state in its constitution, laws, and 



administration, can be made the means of furthering the ends 
of a community of free individuals.-Proifems of Men. 
See also: Right 2; School 3. 


1. The distinction of sensation and movement as stimulus 
and response respectively is not a distinction which can he 
regarded as descriptive of anything which holds of psychical 
events. "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology/* in the Psy- 
chological Review, III ( 1896 ) . 

2. Every stimulus directs activity. It does not simply excite 
it or stir it up, but directs it toward an object. Put the other way 
around, a response is not just a reaction, a protest, as it were, 
against being disturbed; it is, as the word indicates, an answer. 
It meets the stimulus, and corresponds with it. There is an 
adaptation of the stimulus and response to each other. A light 
is the stimulus to the eye to see something, and the business of 
the eye is to see. If the eyes are open and there is light, seeing 
occurs; the stimulus is but a condition of the fulfillment of the 
proper function of the organ, not an outside interruption. 
Democracy and Education. 

See also : Democracy 3; Habit 1, 6. 


1, Symbols . . . are condensed substitutes of actual things and 
events. Experience andNature. 

2. The invention or discovery of symbols is doubtless by far 
the single greatest event in the history of man. Without them, 
no intellectual advance is possible; with them, there is no limit 
set to intellectual development except inherent stupidity. The 
Quest for Certainty. 

See also: Language 2; Mathematics 2, 3; Mind 2; Religion 1, 9. 



1. It is the teacher's business to know what powers are striv- 
ing for utterance at a given period in the child's development, 
and what sorts of activity will bring these to helpful expression, 
in order then to supply the requisite stimuli and needed mate- 
rials. In the Elementary School Record (Monograph I, 1900). 

2. Utilizing of interest and habit to make of it something ful- 
ler, wider, something more refined and under better control, 
might be defined as the teacher's whole duty. Educational 
Essays ( ed. by J. J. Findlay ) . 

3. The educator's part in the enterprise of education is to 
furnish the environment which stimulates responses and directs 
the learner's course. Democracy and Education. 

4. Teaching may be compared to selling commodities. No 
one can sell unless someone buys. We should ridicule a mer- 
chant who said that he had sold a great many goods although no 
one had bought any. But perhaps there are teachers who think 
that they have done a good day's teaching irrespective of what 
pupils have learned. . . . The only way to increase the learning 
of pupils is to augment the quantity and quality of real learn- 
ing. Since learning is something that the pupil has to do him- 
self and for himself, the initiative lies with the learner. The 



teacher is a guide and director; he steers the boat, but the 
energy that propels it must come from those who are learning. 
The more a teacher is aware of the past experiences of students, 
of their hopes, desires, chief interests, the better will he under- 
stand the forces at work that need to be directed and utilized 
for the formation of reflective habits. How We Think. 

5. Teachers . . , being human, may substitute dogmas for 
hypotheses, mistake propaganda for teaching, novelty for depth, 
and the very subjects that most need free inquiry and that may 
most readily excite intellectual interest in young people be- 
come subject to a kind of perversion, influential in the measure 
of its vague intangibility. Education Today (ed. by J. Ratner). 

6. We talk about democracy in the classroom but give it 
nothing but lip-service. Oftentimes our schools impose uni- 
formity as well as conformity upon both teachers and children. 
. . . Unless the teacher is permitted to retain all the rights and 
privileges of any other citizen, teaching will become a social 
stigrna instead of an honor. -From an Interview by Benjamin 
Fine in October, 1949. 

See also: Discipline 1; Learning 2; School 2, 9. 


1. There is no inherent opposition between theory and prac- 
tice; the former enlarges, releases and gives significance to 
the latter; while practice supplies theory with its materials and 
with the test and check which keep it sincere and vital. "In- 
dividuality and Experience," in the Journal of the Barnes Foun- 

2. Theory is in the end, as has been well said, the most 
practical of all things, because this widening of the range of 
attention beyond nearby purpose and desire eventually results 
in the creation of wider and further-reaching purposes and 
enables us to use a much wider and deeper range of conditions 



and means than were expressed in the observation of primitive 
practical purposes. For the time being, however, the formation 
of theories demands a resolute turning aside from the needs of 
practical operations previously performed. 

This detachment is peculiarly hard to secure in the case of 
those persons who are concerned with building up the scien- 
tific content of educational practices and arts. There is a pres- 
sure for immediate results, for a demonstration of a quick, 
short span of usefulness in school. There is a tendency to convert 
the results of statistical inquiries and laboratory experiments 
into directions and rules for the conduct of school administra- 
tion and instruction. Results tend to be directly grabbed, as it 
were, and put into operation by teachers. Then there is not 
the leisure for that slow gradual independent growth of theories 
that is the necessary condition of the formation of a true sci- 
ence. Sources of a Science of Education. 

3. Theory separated from concrete doing and making is 
empty and futile. . . . The problem of the relation of theory and 
practice is not a problem of theory alone; it is that, but it is 
also the most practical problem of life. For it is the question 
of how intelligence may inform action, and how action may 
bear the fruit of increased insight into meaning.17ie Quest 
for Certainty. 

4. Theories as they are used in scientific inquiry are them- 
selves matters of systematic abstraction. Like ideas, they get 
away from what may be called the immediately given facts in 
order to be applicable to a much fuller range of relevant facts. 
Knowing and the Known. 

See also: Abstraction 3; Experimental Method 4; Hypotheses 3; 
Objects 2; Philosophy 2. 


1. Thought deals not with bare things, but with their mean- 
ings. How We Think. 


2. A being who could not think without training could never 
be trained to think; one may have to learn to think well, but 
not to think. Ibid. 

3. Active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief 
or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that 
support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends, con- 
stitutes reflective thoughtIfcidL 

4. Thinking begins in what may fairly enough be called a 
forked road situation, a situation which is ambiguous, which 
presents a dilemma, which proposes alternatives.-Hotc? We 

5. The function of reflective thought is to transform a situa- 
tion in which there is experienced obscurity, doubt, conflict, 
disturbance of some sort, into a situation that is clear, coherent, 
settled, harmonious. Ibid. 

6. The need of thinking to accomplish something beyond 
thinking is more potent than thinking for its own sake. Ibid 

7. It does not pay to tether one's thoughts to the post of use 
with too short a rope. How We Think. 

8. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from 
his failures as from his successes. Ibid. 

9. Thinking ... is far from being the armchair thing it is 
often supposed to be, The reason it is not an armchair thing 
is that it is not an event going on exclusively within the cortex, 
or the cortex and vocal organs. It involves the explorations by 
which relevant data are procured and the physical analyses 
by which they are refined and made precise; it comprises the 
readings by which information is got hold of, the words which 
are experimented with, and the calculations by which the sig- 
nificance of entertained conceptions or hypotheses is elaborated. 
Hands and feet, apparatus and appliances of all kinds are as 
much a part of it as changes in the brain. Essays in Experi- 
mental Logic, 

10. Thinking is the method of intelligent learning, of learn- 



ing that employs and rewards minds.- Democracy and Edu- 

11. Thinking is equivalent to an explicit rendering of the 
intelligent element of our experience. It makes it possible to 
act with an end in view. It is the condition of our having aims. 
As soon as an infant begins to expect he begins to use some- 
thing which is now going on as a sign of something to follow; 
he is, in however simple a fashion, judging. For he takes one 
thing as evidence of something else, and so recognizes a rela- 
tionship. Any future development, however elaborate it may 
be, is only an extending and a refining of this simple act of 
inference. All that the wisest man can do is to observe what is 
going on more widely and more minutely, and then select more 
carefully from what is noted just those factors which point to 
something which is to happen. ... To fill our heads, like a scrap- 
book, with this and that item as a finished and done-f or thing, is 
not to think. It is to turn ourselves into a piece of registering ap- 
paratus. To consider the bearing of the occurrence upon what 
may be, but is not yet, is to think. Ibid. 

12. All serious thinking combines in some proportion and per- 
spective the actual and the possible, where actuality supplies 
contact and solidity while possibility furnishes the ideal upon 
which criticism rests and from which creative effort springs. 
Characters and Events. 

13. We think in terms of classes, as we concretely experience 
in terms of individuals. Art as Experience. 

14. Reflection is an indirect response to the environment. 
"The Development of American Pragmatism," in the Twentieth 
Century Philosophy (a Symposium, ed. by D. D. Runes). 
See also: Conservatism 1; Habits 2, 3; Ideas 3; Words 1. 


1. Almost all men have learned the lesson of tolerance with 
respect to past heresies and divisions. Characters and Events. 



2. Toleration is not just an attitude of good-humored indif- 
ference. It is positive willingness to permit reflection and in- 
quiry to go on in the faith that the truly right will be rendered 
more secure through questioning and discussion, while things 
which have endured merely from custom will be amended or 
done away with. Toleration of difference in moral judgment is 
a duty which those most insistent upon duty find it hardest to 
learn. Ethics ( with J. H. Tufts, revised ed. ) , 

3. Toleration of diverse views, freedom of communication, 
the distribution of what is found out to every individual as the 
ultimate intellectual consumer, are involved in the democratic 
as in the scientific method. Freedom and Culture. 

See also: Democracy 10; Understanding 2. 


1. To select truth as objective and error as "subjective" is, 
on this basis, an unjustifiably partial procedure. ... It is 
human to regard the course of events which is in line with our 
own efforts as the regular course of events, and interruptions 
as abnormal, but this partiality of human desire is itself a part 
of what actually takes place. In the Creative Intelligence: Es- 
says in the Pragmatic Attitude ( a Symposium ) . 

2. The true means the verified and means nothing else. 
Reconstruction in Philosophy. 

3. Truths are but one class of meanings, namely, those in 
which a claim to verifiability by their consequences is an in- 
trinsic part of their meaning. Beyond this island of meanings 
which in their own nature are true or false lies the ocean of 
meanings to which truth and falsity are irrelevant. . . . We 
may indeed ask for the truth of Shakespeare's Hamlet or Shel- 
ley's Skylark, but by truth we now signify something quite 
different from that of scientific statement and historical record, 
Philosophy and Civilization. 



4. There is but one sure road of access to truth the road 
of patient, cooperative inquiry operating by means of obser- 
vation, equipment, record and controlled reflection. A Com- 
mon Faith. 

See also: Experience 5; Freedom of Thought 2; Hypotheses 2; 
Morality 5; Science 1. 




1. A being that cannot understand at all is at least protected 
from misunderstanding. How We Think. 

2. Every extension of intelligence as the method of action 
enlarges the area of common understanding. Understanding may 
not ensure complete agreement, but it gives the only sound 
basis for enduring agreement. In any case where there is a 
difference, it will conduce to agreement to differ, to mutual 
tolerance and sympathy, pending the time when more adequate 
knowledge and better methods of judging are at hand. In 
The Educational Frontier (a Symposium, ed. by W. H. Kil- 

3. What will it profit a man to do this, that, and the other 
specific thing, if he has no clear idea of why he is doing them? 
Education Today ( ed. by J, Ratner) . 

4. Understanding has to be in terms of how things work and 
how to do things. Understanding, by its very nature, is related 
to action; just as information, by its very nature, is isolated from 
action or connected with it only here and there by accident 
Problems of Men. 

5. The Understanding is not free to judge in any arbitrary 
sense of freedom. To attain knowledge we must judge or under- 



stand in necessary ways, or else we do not attain knowledge of 
objects but only personal fancies. Ibid. 

See also: Belief 4; Community 1; Man 2; Open-mindedness 3; 
Science 4. 


1. To idealize and rationalize the universe at large is a con- 
fession of inability to master the courses of things that specifi- 
cally concern us. The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and 
Other Essays. 

2. The self is always directed toward something beyond 
itself and so its own unification depends upon the idea of the 
integration of the shifting scenes of the world into that imagi- 
native totality we call the Universe. A Common Faith. 

3. The feature of unification is generalized beyond the limits 
in which it takes place, namely resolution of specific prob- 
lematic situations; knowledge then is supposed to consist of 
attainment of a final all-comprehensive Unity, equivalent to 
the Universe as an unconditioned whole. Logic: the Theory 
of Inquiry. 

See also: Chance; Mind 4. 



1. Physical science has for the time being fax outrun psychi- 
cal. We have mastered the physical mechanism sufficiently to 
turn out possible goods; we have not gained a loiowledge of 
the conditions through which possible values become actual 
in life, and so are still at the mercy of habit, of haphazard, and 
hence of force. The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and 
Other Essays. 

2. The term "value" has two quite different meanings. On 
the one hand, it denotes the attitude of prizing a thing, finding 
it worth while, for its own sake or intrinsically. This is a name 
for a full or complete experience. To value in this sense is to 
appreciate. But to value also means a distinctly intellectual act 
an operation of comparing and judging to evaluate. This oc- 
curs when direct full experience is lacking, and the question 
arises which of the various possibilities of a situation is to be 
preferred in order to reach a full realization, or vital experi- 
ence. Democracy and Education. 

3. Values are as unstable as the forms of clouds. Experience 
and Nature. 

4. There is no value except where there is satisfaction, hut 
there have to be certain conditions fulfilled to transform a satis- 



faction into a value. . . . Values may be connected inherently 
with liking, and yet not with every liking but only with those 
that judgment has approved. The Quest for Certainty. 

5. I hold that enjoyments, objects of desires as they arise, 
are not values, but are problematic material for construction 
for creation if you will of values. A Reply in The Philosophy 
of John Dewey (a Symposium, ed. by P. A. Schilpp). 

6, Values that are "extrinsic" or instrumental may be ration- 
ally estimated. For they are only means; are not ends in any 
genuine sense. As means their efficacy may be determined by 
methods that will stand scientific inspection. But the "ends" 
they serve (ends which are truly ends ) are just matters of what 
groups, classes, sects, races, or whatever, happen irrationally to 
like or dislike. Problems of Men. 

See also: Criticism; Culture 1; Democracy 8; Faith 1; God; 
Labor; Philosophy 2; Possibility 2; Religion 8; Responsibil- 
ity 4; Society 3. 




1. Like Greek slavery or feudal serfdom, war and the exist- 
ing economic regime are social patterns woven out of the stuff 
of instinctive activities. Native human nature supplies the raw 
materials, but custom furnishes the machinery and the designs. 
. . . Pugnacity, rivalry, vainglory, love of booty, fear, suspicion, 
anger, desire for freedom from the conventions and restrictions 
of peace, love of power and hatred of oppression, opportunity 
for novel displays, love of home and soil, attachment to one's 
people and to the altar and the hearth, courage, loyalty, oppor- 
tunity to make a name, money or a career, affection, piety to 
ancestors and ancestral gods all of these things and many 
more make up the war-like force. To suppose there is some 
one unchanging native force which generates war is as naive 
as the usual assumption that our enemy is actuated solely by 
the meaner of the tendencies named and we only by the nobler. 
Human Nature and Conduct. 

2, Men justify war in behalf of words which would be empty 
were they not charged with emotional force words like honor, 
liberty, civilization, divine purpose and destiny forgetting that 
a war, like anything else, has specific concrete results on earth. 
Unless war can be shown to be the most economical method of 



securing the results which are desirable with a minimum of the 
undesirable results, it marks waste and loss; it must be ad- 
judged a violence, not a use of force. The terms, honor, liberty, 
future of civilization, justice, become sentimental phantasies of 
the same order as the catchwords of the professional pacifist. 
Their emotional force may keep men going, but they throw no 
light on the goal or on the way traveled. Characters and 

3. Treaties to make war have, it would seem, an irresistibly 
attractive and binding force; treaties not to make war are in 
all probability scraps of paper. lind., II. 

4. I am not convinced beyond every peradventure of a doubt 
that the outlawry of war will rid the world finally of the war 
system. If nations insist upon fighting they will do so, just as 
individuals commit suicide. Are Sanctions Necessary to Inter- 
national Organization? ( a Pamphlet ) . 

5. War is as much a social pattern as is the domestic slavery 
which the ancients thought to be an immutable fact.- Problems 
of Men. 

See also: Human Nature; Interaction 4; Peace; Power 2, 


1. Wisdom ... is the nurse of all the virtues. Etf/wcs (with 
J.H. Tufts). 

2. Wisdom differs from knowledge in being the application 
of what is known to intelligent conduct of the affairs of human 
lif e. Problems of Men, 

See also: Good and Evil 3, 


1. A word is an instrument for thinking about the meaning 
which it expresses. How We Think. 



2. Words, the counters for ideas, are easily taken for ideas, 
Democracy and Education. 

3. A word means one thing in relation to a religious institu- 
tion, still another thing in business, a third thing in law, and 
so on. This fact is the real Babel of communication. Logic; 
the Theory of Inquiry. 

4. We say that words are a means of communicating ideas. 
But upon some subjects , . . the words at our disposal are largely 
such as to prevent the communication of ideas. The words are 
so loaded with associations derived from a long past that in- 
stead of being tools for thought, our thoughts become subser- 
vient tools of words. The meanings of such words as soul, mind, 
self, unity, even body, are hardly more than condensed epi- 
tomes of mankind's age-long efforts at interpretation of its ex- 
perience. These efforts began when man first emerged from 
the state of the anthropoid ape. The interpretations which are 
embodied in the words that have come down to us are the 
products of desire and hope, of chance circumstance and ig- 
norance, of the authority exercised by medicine men and priests 
as well as of acute observation and sound judgment In Zn- 
telligence in the Modem World (ed. by J. Ratner). 

See also : Language 4; War 2. 


1. It is 'natural" for activity to be agreeable. It tends to find 
fulfillment, and finding an outlet is itself satisfactory, for it 
marks paxtial accomplishment If productive activity has be- 
come so inherently unsatisfactory that men have to be artificially 
induced to engage in it, this fact is ample proof that the con- 
ditions under which work is carried on balk the complex of 
activities instead of promoting them, irritate and frustrate nat- 
ural tendencies instead of carrying them forward to fruition. 
Work then becomes labor, tibe consequence of some aboriginal 



curse which forces man to do what he would not do if he could 
help it, the outcome of some original sin which excluded man 
from a paradise in which desire was satisfied without industry, 
compelling him to pay for the means of livelihood with the 
sweat of his brow. From which it follows naturally that Para- 
dise Regained means the accumulation of investments such that 
a man can live upon their return without labor. There is, we 
repeat, too much truth in this picture. But it is not a truth 
concerning original human nature and activity. It concerns the 
form human impulses have taken under the influence of a spe- 
cific social environment. If there are difficulties in the way of 
social alteration as there certainly are they do not lie in an 
original aversion of human nature to serviceable action, but in 
the historic conditions which have differentiated the work of 
the laborer for wage from that of the artist, adventurer, sports- 
man, soldier, administrator and speculator. Human Nature 
and Conduct. 

2. Work has been onerous, toilsome, associated with a pri- 
meval curse. It has been done under compulsion and the pres- 
sure of necessity, while intellectual activity is associated with 
leisure, On account of the unpleasantness of practical activity, 
as much of it as possible has been put upon slaves and serfs. 
Thus the social dishonor in which this class was held was ex- 
tended to the work they do. The Quest for Certainty. 
See also: Ideals 1; Labor; Leisure; Machine 1; Production and 
Consumption 2; School 1. 


1. We live in a world which is an impressive and irresistible 
mixture of sufficiencies, tight completenesses, order, recurrences 
which make possible prediction and control, and singularities, 
ambiguities, uncertain possibilities, processes going on to con- 
sequences as yet indeterminate. Experience and Nature. 



2. Through science we have secured a degree of power of 
prediction and of control; through tools, machinery and an ac- 
companying technique we have made the world more con- 
formable to our needs, a more secure abode. We have heaped 
up riches and means of comfort between ourselves and the risks 
of the world. We have professionalized amusement as an agency 
of escape and forgetfulness. But when all is said and done, the 
fundamentally hazardous character of the world is not seriously 
modified, much less eliminated, Ibid. 

3. There is, of course, a natural world that exists independ- 
ently of the organism, but this world is environment only as it 
enters directly and indirectly into life-functions, Logic; the 
Theory of Inquiry. 

See also: Experience 7; Law of Nature 3; Mathematics 3; Mind 
5; Self 4; Universe 2. 



1. The development within the young of the attitudes and 
dispositions necessary to the continuous and progressive life 
of a society cannot take place by direct conveyance of beliefs, 
emotions, and knowledge. It takes place through the interme- 
diary of the environment. The School and Society. 

2. When customs are flexible and youth is educated as youth 
and not as premature adulthood, no nation grows old. Human 
Nature and Conduct. 

See also: Education 7, 8; Teaching 5.